Kia Motors, RSM aren’t playing nice

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Kia Motors, RSM aren’t playing nice

Kia Motors and Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) have exchanged a war of words over their products as the local midsize vehicle market heats up.

It all started on Thursday at a test drive event for Kia’s new K5, when a sales executive said RSM’s SM5 TCE was priced too high for its performance level. He added another barb by saying that RSM might “feel stumped” regarding the K5 Turbo’s low price.

The SM5 TCE (Turbo Charged Efficiency), released earlier this month, is priced starting at 27.1 million won ($23,450). It is equipped with Nissan’s 1.6-liter GDi turbo charger engine, which produces 190 horsepower and has maximum torque of 24.5 kilogram-meters.

The K5 Turbo has a 2.0-liter engine that can produce 271 horsepower and 37.2 kilogram-meters of torque. It is priced at 27.95 million won.

An hour after the event, RSM released a rare statement refuting Kia’s claim. The Korean unit of the French automaker said that its SM5 TCE aims to downsize by introducing a smaller engine compared to most midsize cars.

The nation’s fourth-largest automaker also fought back on price. It released data comparing the new K5 Turbo to the SM5 on taxes, fuel costs and fuel efficiency. The SM5 TCE gets 13 kilometers per liter, while the K5 Turbo gets 10.3 kilometers per liter.

“The unsophisticated logic that a car with high engine displacement should be sold at a higher price and a car with low engine displacement should be cheaper is arrogant and forces customers to give up their own standards,” RSM said in a release. “As a competitor of good will, we hope to see more caution in the future and would like to point out that genuine value of a product is determined by customers.”

The top midsize model is the Hyundai Sonata, of which 39,015 were sold from January to May.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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