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Demand for performance cars rises in S. Korea

All Headlines 15:58 June 02, 2017

SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) -- Sales of high-performance vehicles are on the rise in South Korea amid growing demand by consumers who want more from the cars they drive every day, industry sources said Friday.

The number of performance cars sold here fell far behind sales of mass-market models but it has steadily increased in the Korean market.

Mercedes-Benz Korea sold a total of 2,057 AMG performance oriented models last year, jumping from 776 in 2014. In the January-April period alone, the German carmaker sold 905 AMG cars, a 19-percent on-year rise from a year earlier, industry data showed.

BMW Korea also saw the sales of its high-end M model grow last year here. BMW Korea sold 620 units of the M model last year and 238 M models in the first four months, the data said.

To gain a share in the high-performance car market dominated by imported carmakers, Hyundai Motor Co. has developed its own N performance brand. In 2014, the carmaker hired former BMW M boss, Albert Biermann, as technology chief for its performance division.

In this updated captured image from Yonhap News TV, Hyundai's i30N high-performance car runs the 2017 24 Hours Nurburgring, an endurance race held in Germany last weekend. (Yonhap)

Hyundai plans to launch the i30N hatchback in Europe later this year. It has been working on the development of performance models, including the N brand, since 2013 to enhance its brand image.

Kia has already adopted the GT performance brand for its K5 (or Optima) sedan and plans to launch a sports version of the K3 compact, the company said. The carmaker plans to release the all-new Stinger sports sedan in its home market, which is expected to boost sales and upgrade its image.

Audi, Volkswagen and Lexus also carry their own performance brands such as S, R, and F, respectively.

Despite ever-tightening emissions laws and fuel economy requirements, sales of high-performance vehicles have been increasing worldwide in recent years.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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