Busan’s motor show growing

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Busan’s motor show growing

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This week, Haeundae Beach will be covered with fancy new cars as the Busan International Motor Show kicks off its 10-day journey at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center.

The seventh biennial motor show hosted by Korea’s second-largest city will open to the public from Thursday to June 8. Under the theme of “Ocean of vehicles, feeding the world,” the event will feature 198 cars from 22 brands, which is the most in its history, the organizers said.

The largest number of new cars will also be introduced to the public.

According to organizers, three cars will be unveiled for the first time, while five will have their Asian premieres and 20 their debuts in Korea. Nine concept cars will also be featured at the show.

In addition, Mitsuoka, the Japanese custom car manufacturer, will display its cars for the time in a Korean auto show.

Hyundai Motor, the nation’s largest automaker, aims to attract local customers and keep them from buying imports. Haeundae District in Busan is regarded as one of the hot places for showrooms of imported cars, like the Gangnam area of Seoul.

Hyundai said it will introduce a large sedan with the project name “AG” for the first time in the world. The vehicle, which size-wise is somewhere between a Grandeur (sold as the Azera overseas) and a Genesis, is expected to be equipped with a 3.0-liter engine and front-wheel drive. The automaker plans to release the sedan in the third quarter.

To challenge hit diesel imports like BMW’s 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz’s E Class, Hyundai will also unveil the Grandeur Diesel, which will come with a 2.2-diesel engine with six-speed automatic transmission.

Hyundai’s small affiliate Kia Motors will introduce the GT4 Stinger for the first time for the Korean market. The rear-wheel drive sports car, which was first unveiled in Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, can produce 320 horsepower from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine.

Korea’s second largest automaker will try to appeal to families with a third generation Carnival (Sedona oversea) that was introduced just last week. The minivan received a full makeover for the first time in nine years.

GM Korea said the Chevrolet Camaro, which is the car on which the “Bumblebee” character in the “Transformers 4” movie is based, will make its Korean debut. Renault Samsung Motors, the Korean unit of French automaker Renault, said that it will show a Initiale Paris concept car.

German automakers, which lead the imported car market with more than a 70 percent market share, is unveiling various models.

Mercedes-Benz is displaying a new C Class, which received a full makeover since 2007. It is also introducing a small sport utility vehicle, the GLA Class, for the first time in Korea.

BMW is showcasing its 4 Series Gran Coupe, a new M3 and M4 Coupe, while Audi is showing a plug-in hybrid A3 e-tron and face-lifted A8.

Volkswagen, which prepared the largest size among the imports at 1,500 square meters, is unveiling a CrossBlue concept midsize SUV, a diesel plug-in hybrid that gets gas mileage of 37.8 kilometer per liter, for the first time in Asia. A Korean premier is being given to the Polo R WRC rallycar that won the World Rally Championship last year. The XL1 concept, a diesel plug-in hybrid with mileage of 111.1 kilometer per liter, will be displayed again after its first visit to Korea three months ago.

Japanese automaker Nissan said that it will unveil its first diesel model sold in Korea at the show. This will also be its first introduction in Asia. Italian luxury auto brand Maserati will unveil a diesel version of its Quattroporte and Ghibli saloon for the first time in Asia.

Jaguar Land Rover Korea said it will display a C-X17 crossover concept, F-Type Coupe and Range Rover Long Wheelbase for the first time locally, while Cadillac is showing its Elmiraj concept, the coupe sports car that produces 500 horsepower.

Lincoln will give a preview of its MKC compact SUV, which is scheduled to be sold here in the second half, while Lexus is also giving a preview of the NX300h compact hybrid SUV that is expected to be sold in Korea from October.

Honda, Chrysler, Jeep, Fiat, Volvo, Peugeot, Citroen, Porsche, Ferrari and Ssangyong Motor are not participating the show.

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

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