Cars Importers to Boost Position with New Models

Foreign carmakers are gearing up to release new models in Korea early next year, but domestic firms have no new models lined up, leading to fears that their market share will erode further.

According to industry insiders on Monday, importers plan to release around 10 new models in 2014, ranging from subcompacts to multi-purpose vehicles.

Audi is unveiling a new small sedan in Korea on Jan. 6 that veers away from rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz, whose subcompacts are hatchback models. Mercedes plans to introduce a new small four-door coupe called the CLA in January.

Japanese carmakers are introducing new minivans and SUVs, and Chrysler plans to market the seven-seater Grand Voyager minivan in the first quarter of 2014.

Nissan also plans to unveil its seven-passenger Pathfinder SUV with improved design here on Jan. 7.

Other new models include Audi's high-performance RS7 sports car set to go on sale here in the first quarter of 2014, and the Porsche 911 GT3. The Jaguar XJR and Infiniti Q50 will also go on sale here at that time.

"Hyundai and Kia plan to release new models after the second quarter of next year leading to fears of tough competition with imports in the first quarter," an industry insider said. But the situation may change in the second quarter when the new Hyundai Sonata sedan and Kia Carnival minivans are released."

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 24, 2013 13:21 KST