Japanese carmakers counterattack

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Japanese carmakers counterattack

Japanese automakers are staying vigilant as their market shares in Korea declined last year.

Prices of Japanese vehicles fell about 10 percent due to the weak yen, but Korean consumers preferred German diesel vehicles.

Toyota’s share in the domestic market declined 8 percent year-on-year in 2014, selling 6,840 vehicles, while that of Honda shrank more tha
n 25 percent during the same period.

From March, Honda will resume sales of the Legend for the first time since 2011.

The Honda Legend is a large sedan based on the Acura RLX, and it is the highest premium model in Korea. It is being sold as the Acura RLX in the North America.

Honda Korea is planning on launching the Honda Legend gasoline model at about 70 million won ($63,500) and will later launch diesel and hybrid models.

Toyota, which lost its fifth rank in terms of market share to Ford, will launch its hybrid Prius V for about 30 million won. Consumers can even receive around 1 million won in government subsidies when purchasing the Prius V.

“Toyota is originally a company that has a corporate culture of focusing on year-end performance management, rather than the launch of a new car at the beginning of the year,” said a Toyota spokesman.

“But this year, Toyota will concentrate on promoting a lineup of new cars from the beginning with models such as Camry, Sienna and Prius.”

On Feb. 10, Nissan will launch the new Q70, which has undergone its first face-lift in five years to apply a mesh-type grille and redesigned bumpers at the front and back.

Unlike other Japanese sedans such as Lexus, the flagship model Q70 is a diesel. Its price will be around 60 million to 70 million won.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung and Ssangyong Motors released their performance reports for January yesterday.

BY KIM YOUNG-MIN [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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