Renault Samsung unveils its latest QM3

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Renault Samsung unveils its latest QM3

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The interior of the compact SUV QM3. [Renault Samsung Motors]

Renault Samsung Motors (RSM), which is facing a tough challenge in the compact SUV market, has beefed up its popular model, the QM3, to compete with rivals.

The nation’s No. 4 automaker said on Thursday that it has added the color “Chocolate Brown” to the QM3 SUV’s highest trim, the RE Signature, in order to deal with rivals such as Chevrolet’s Trax, Ssangyong Motor’s Tivoli and Kia Motors’ hybrid SUV, the Niro. The RE Signature previously offered only one color, “Sonic Red.”

The company said it has added a series of options to enhance the compact SUV. It first added a premium package consisting of Alcantara seats, aluminum pedals and a Grip Control system, or intelligent traction control for driving in inclement weather. The automaker said this is the first SUV to have such a system in Korea. The system allows driver’s to select from three driving modes: Road, Soft Ground and Expert.

Since the QM3’s core consumer groups are in their 20s and 30s, the RSM comes with a Tablet to Car (T2C) navigation system that the automaker jointly developed with the nation’s No. 1 mobile carrier, SK Telecom. This is the first time a QM3 has been equipped with such a system. The detachable T2C is a popular navigation system which features T-Map service, the mobile music streaming app Melon and rear-view cameras to make parking easier.

“What we are basically trying to do is providing every possible industry-leading piece of technology in the compact SUV, all at a reasonable price,” said a spokesman for RSM. “We believe these new options will appeal to local consumers seeking high-end options in entry-level crossover SUVs.”

With these upgraded features, the QM3 is expected to attract local consumers and, in particular, SUVs-lovers.

There have been many new SUVs since 2014, but the QM3 offers the best fuel efficiency at 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) per liter, thanks to the great combination of a 1.5 dCi diesel engine, which reflects Renault’s F1 racing techs and diesel engine knowhow, and the Getrag’s dual clutch transmission, which is also installed in vehicles made by premium German brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

With this fancy QM3, the RSM expects to attract more consumers in the rapidly growing local SUV market. According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), a total of 452,200 units were sold in Korea last year, an all-time high and a 33.9 percent rise from the year before. Considering that the Korean auto market only grew by 9.3 percent during the same period, the SUV segment made significant growth, accounting for 34.1 percent of all Korean sales, which was another all-time high. One of the key features of this growth is that it came largely from compact SUVs, as their sales rose by 195 percent last year.

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




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