Weak yen fuels Japanese automaker promotions

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Weak yen fuels Japanese automaker promotions

Japanese automakers are aggressively promoting their vehicles in Korea to take advantage of the weakened yen.

Infiniti, the luxury brand of Nissan, said yesterday the G25 Smart has been lowered to 37.7 million won ($33,700) this month, a 5.7 million won discount. The company will receive pre-contracts for this month and start sales from next month.

The G25 is equipped with a 2,500cc engine that can produce 221 horsepower. It is one of Infiniti’s best-selling models worldwide.

Honda also said yesterday it is launching a “Family Promotion” this month to celebrate its 10th anniversary of doing business in Korea.

Its popular midsize Accord 2.4 sedan will be discounted 1 million won, while the Accord 3.5 and Crosstour will be 2 million won off. Those who purchase the Civic Euro, a compact hatchback, will get a 3 million won discount.

Toyota Korea said it will continue its discount programs this month. The Japanese auto giant already experienced the benefits of aggressive promotions last month. According to the company, it sold 1,316 units in May, its best monthly sales since landing Korea in October 2009.

This month, the Venza, a crossover utility vehicle, and Toyota 86, a sports car, carry a 7 million won discount.

Japan’s top automaker will extend its deals for Camry and Prius. It will offer 3 million won off Camry’s gasoline and hybrid models, and 4 million won off the Camry V6. Prius buyers will get a 2 million won discount.

These kinds of promotions are likely to pressure domestic automakers who are already struggling to increase sales.

Combined domestic sales of the nation’s five automakers last month was at 119,124 units, down 1.2 percent from a year ago. Only Ssangyong Motor saw domestic sales go up in last month compared to a year ago.

To boost sales, local automakers are also cutting prices. Kia Motors said Monday that its 2014 Sorento R is 1.7 million won cheaper than its previous edition, while the face-lifted K5 is 550,000 won cheaper than the old version.

Hyundai Motor is offering 200,000 won to 500,000 won discounts on the Accents and Avantes, and 1.5 million won on the Sonata Hybrid.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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