Lamborghini and Maserati will be at Seoul car show

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Lamborghini and Maserati will be at Seoul car show

The car lineup and program for the Seoul Motor Show, one of the nation’s biggest car exhibitions, have been unveiled.

In a press briefing on Tuesday at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul, the organizing body of the 2015 show presented the lineup of vehicles including supercars from Lamborghini, Bentley and Maserati. The event is the 10th version of the biennial motor show, which will run for 10 days starting April 2 at Kintex in Goyang, northern Gyeonggi, with the theme “Experience the technology and feel the artistry.”

The organizing committee said that a total of 33 automakers will join the show - nine domestic, including Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motors, and 24 foreign like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Five of the participants including Lamborghini and Sunlong Bus of China are rookies to the show and Bentley is joining the event for the first time since 2007. The organizing committee said it expects about 650,000 visitors.

The committee said about 350 cars will be on display and 33, 12 of which are concept cars, will be seen for the first time. Besides the car makers, 108 auto parts companies, 12 car tuning businesses and four makers of two-wheel transportation will also join in.

“This Seoul Motor Show will be the biggest ever,” said Kim Yong-keun, head of the organizing committee. “We will try to make this interesting by holding many programs that reflect the trends in the car industry including convergence of Information Technology and cars. We expect this year’s event to improve brand awareness internationally.”

But there are concerns that the show might not be a huge success.

The automaker lineup seems to include most major players in the industry, but Fiat-Chrysler, Volvo and Rolls-Royce decided not to participate. Fiat-Chrysler and Rolls-Royce said they don’t have new cars to introduce in Seoul and Volvo chose to only participate in the Geneva Motor Show in March and in the Shanghai Motor Show in April, which are bigger stages for car companies.

“After Chrysler was acquired by Fiat, there were some changes in their management and I think they are just sticking to their new marketing strategies,” said Yoon Dae-sung, an executive on the committee. “Volvo currently only participates in three auto shows, one on each continent, per year but I heard from one of their officials that the rule might change next year as they are preparing to introduce some new cars at the end of this year.”

The motor show failed to bring in any tire makers, an issue they couldn’t solve after failures in previous events.

“It is a problem of market share for Korean tire makers Hankook, Kumho and Nexen,” said Kim, the organizing committee chief. “The market share for the three companies in the country hasn’t changed much in recent years and what they are trying to do is focus on expanding their sales in the global market.”

The organizing committee said visitors will be able to see convergences between IT and vehicles at the show, with automakers showing their new electric vehicles such as the Ray and Soul (Kia Motors), Spark (GM Korea), i3 (BMW), Leaf (Nissan) and new technology such as heads-up display and driver assistant systems. But none of the companies are showing a driverless system, which is one of the biggest recent advances in IT and car convergence.

BY KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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