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CT&T rolls off greens, onto asphalt

Local golf cart manufacturer plans to send mini cars to Canada, Fiji

May 08,2008
BUSAN — Here at the Busan International Motor Show, the crowds obviously flock to displays of new models at booths of major local and foreign automakers. But CT&T, a local golf-cart producer, has proven to be the unlikely belle of the ball.
The local start-up, known in the golf-cart market for its electric-powered vehicles, has decided to venture off the greens and onto the asphalt with its e-Zone electric mini car for short-distance driving.
The car will sell for around 12 million won ($11,700), half the price of similar European models, CT&T representatives explained. The e-Zone can travel 70 to 110 kilometers if fully charged and can reach speeds of 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour, they said.
The company signed a $4 million deal to supply 600 e-Zone cars to Royal Laser Manufacturing, a Toronto, Canada-based laser technology company.
The Republic of the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific is also showing interest. Last week, Fiji Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama visited CT&T’s Dangjin plant in South Chungcheong. He proposed that the company set up a plant in Fiji with a capacity of 10,000 cars.
Quoting Fiji officials, CT&T representatives said that 150,000 automobiles are in use in Fiji now and most are older models, which cause serious air pollution. Accordingly, the Fiji government, under its “Green Island” policy, plans to completely switch to eco-friendly electric-powered cars.
CT&T, while not a familiar name to the general public, has achieved quick success despite its young history. In 2007, only one year after entering the local golf-cart market, CT&T saw its market share surge to 46 percent. The company expects its piece of the pie to climb to 60 percent this year.
Founded by former Hyundai Motor Company executives in 2002, the company gained attention with its c-Zone golf cart.
“When we made a deal to supply 240 golf carts to Lakeside Country Club [in Gyeonggi] last year, other companies began to pay attention to us,” said Lee Young-gi, president of CT&T. “We appeal to golf course operators with carts developed to be suitable for Korea’s topography.” Japanese firms previously dominated Korea’s golf-cart market.
The c-Zone golf cart’s motor consumes 20 percent less energy than Sanyo or Yamaha, and sells for half as much, Lee explained, which prompted the Japanese firms to lower their prices.


By Shim Jae-woo JoongAng Ilb [symoon@joongang.co.kr]



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