Busan has high hopes for spring auto show

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Busan has high hopes for spring auto show

This year’s Busan International Motor Show will be the largest ever with some 200 vehicles and 21 automobile brands on display.

The biennial motor show hosted by Korea’s second-largest city will open to the public from May 30 to June 8 at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (Bexco). It is organized by Bexco and four other organizations, including the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.

Organizers said the size of the exhibition zone has been expanded to 46,380 square meters (499,230 square feet), up 54 percent from previous shows. Including the 21 auto brands, some 200 companies will participate, including manufacturers of auto parts and accessories.

All Korean automakers except Ssangyong Motor will be at the show. The nation’s fourth-largest automaker, which specializes in sport utility vehicles, withdrew after a dispute with organizers about its exhibition space. Ssangyong objected after organizers put its booth at a secondary exhibition zone.

“We acknowledge poor management in some parts, but we still want Ssangyong to participate,” said Yoo Dong-hyun, an exhibition team manager at Bexco. “There are still two months left before the opening of the event. We can set aside some space for Ssangyong.”

In terms of foreign mainstream automakers, 15 brands will be at the show, including Jaguar and Land Rover, which are returning for the first time in six years. But Honda, Volvo, Peugeot, Citroen and Porsche are not participating.

Despite the absences, organizers claim the show will be successful by focusing on more concept cars and vehicles debuting for the first time in Korea. Nine concept cars are confirmed, while 20 cars will make their Korean debuts. Three will be having their world debuts in Busan.

The show is also a venue for companies to clinch business deals, especially auto parts companies. Global TransporTech, an exhibition for the transportation parts industry, is also opening at Bexco, and some 300 buyers are expected to visit, according to the organizers.

“We focused on supporting the local automobile industry by reinforcing the B2B aspect,” said Kim Ki-young, director general at Busan City Government’s Industrial Policy Bureau.

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

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