By Choi Kyong-ae
BUSAN, June 1 (Yonhap) -- Environment-friendly and luxury vehicles will steal the spotlight during this year's Busan International Motor Show amid a lingering impact of Volkswagen AG's diesel emissions scandal on the markets, industry people said Wednesday.
In the Busan International Motor Show, which opens from June 2-12 at BEXCO Auditorium in Busan, 453 kilometers south of Seoul, 25 domestic and international carmakers are set to exhibit 232 models, including 45 concept, upgraded and fully revamped cars, the biennial show's organizing committee said in a statement.
This year, foreign carmakers, such as BMW Korea, Volkswagen Korea and Ford Korea, built their exhibition booths in and outside BEXCO to allow customers easier access to their vehicles. And the exhibition space allotted to imported automakers reached 11,700 square meters, bigger than the 10,250 square meters given to the country's five carmakers, it said.
"In Busan, the dominant key word for the country's major carmakers, such as Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp. and GM Korea Co., is eco-friendliness. Hyundai Motor went further to have another key word of luxury with its independent Genesis brand," said Kim Tae-nyun, executive director of the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA).
Hyundai Motor will introduce the Ioniq gasoline-and-battery hybrid and Ioniq pure-electric models, which are developed to take on its archrival Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius. Kia Motors will introduce the plug-in hybrid version of the K5 midsize sedan in a world premiere and the plug-in Telluride SUV concept, according to the companies.
Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Kwon Moon-sik is scheduled to announce the company's future strategy on eco-friendly vehicles in a media event due Wednesday evening.
To beef up its Genesis lineup, Hyundai will unveil the G80, the next-generation model of the existing Genesis luxury sedan, in a global debut Thursday. The flagship model will go on sale in July in the domestic market, it said.
It will also absorb the large Grandeur sedan into the Genesis lineup, under the new name of G70 next year. The EQ900 upper-large sedan, or the G90, domestically launched in November, will advance to the U.S. market in the third quarter, a Hyundai spokesman said.
GM Korea, which is 76.9 percent owned by General Motors Co., said it will introduce the Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, in Korea as it sees the car's big growth potential here amid growing concerns about pollutants from diesel-powered vehicles.
On Wednesday night, GM Korea will hold a gala show, dubbed "GM Premiere Night 2016," to introduce the Volt and Camaro sports car to industry and media people.
"The two models will go on sale in the domestic market later this year. They will be produced in the U.S. and shipped to Korea," a GM Korea spokesman said.
Renault Samsung Motors Corp., an 80.9 percent-owned unit of French carmaker Renault, will come up with its all-new SUV QM6 to meet local customers' growing appetite for SUVs. The QM6, fully revamped from the QM5 SUV, will be produced at its Busan plant for export starting late this year.
Ssangyong Motor didn't participate in the Busan motor show in 2014 and isn't participating this year as well.
Also to take advantage of higher demand for the recreational vehicle, imported carmakers, such as Maserati and Bentley, plan to launch their first SUVs. Maserati and Bentley will launch the Levante and the Bentayga, respectively, in Busan, the organizing committee said.
"Bentley and MAN Truck & Bus Korea are two major newcomers in the Busan motor show as Korea is still a growing market for foreign carmakers," Ahn Jae-young, a committee spokesman, said. In Korea, 7 out of 10 cars on the roads carry a badge of Hyundai or Kia.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Korea said it will not hold a press conference during the motor show. The German carmaker has suffered a worsening brand image globally after it admitted last year that it had deceived regulators about how much its diesel cars were polluting the air.
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