Honda to Ride Korea-U.S. FTA

      October 17, 2012 11:41

      Honda will start selling four new models in Korea this year which were manufactured in the U.S., apparently to take advantage of lower tariffs under the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.

      Toyota already sells Camrys in Korea that are made in its U.S. plant, and Volkswagen is selling U.S.-manufactured Passats here.

      Honda plans to start selling U.S.-made versions of its mid-sized Accord sedans, the mid-sized cross-over vehicle Cross Tour, mid-sized minivan Odyssey and large SUV Pilot, it said Tuesday.

      The Odyssey, Cross Tour and Pilot are making their debut in Korea, but the Accords sold here have so far been made in Japan. Japanese-made Accords cost around W35 million (US$1=W1,107), and the U.S.-made versions are expected to be cheaper than the rival Camry, which sells for around W33 million. The Odyssey and Pilot will likely fetch a price of around W40 million.

      In recent years, Honda Korea has had a tough time selling cars here due to the price disadvantage, but the introduction of U.S.-made cars is expected to lower their price tags by around 20 percent compared to the Japanese-made ones.

      "We hope to boost our monthly sales volume from 300 units at present to between 600 and 700 once we introduce cost-competitive vehicles manufactured at our U.S. plant," a Honda Korea staffer said.

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