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SUVs steal the spotlight at Busan motor show

All Headlines 17:25 June 07, 2018

BUSAN, South Korea, June 7 (Yonhap) -- Reflecting current consumer demand, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) stole the spotlight during the media day event at the biennial Busan International Motor Show on Thursday.

Korean carmakers, such as Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., who have been late to the party in terms of offering a wide selection of crossovers, showcased concepts and face-lifted SUV models at the event that runs through June 17 in South Korea's No. 1 port city.

In a world premiere, Hyundai Motor unveiled an all-new SUV concept with the project name 'HDC-2 Grandmaster' and its affiliate, Kia Motors, introduced the 'SP' compact SUV concept. The two carmakers together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales.

The actual timeframe for the launch of Hyundai's SUV based on its concept has not been decided yet but Kia plans to have the compact crossover sold in its domestic market by late 2019, the companies said.

These photos taken on June 7 during the media day at the Busan International Motor Show, 2018 show Hyundai's 'HDC-2 Grandmaster' SUV concept (R) and Kia's SP compact SUV concept that will be launched in the local market in late 2019. (Yonhap)

In its aggressive push to boost sales, Hyundai also introduced the face-lifted Tucson compact SUV at South Korea's second-largest automobile trade show. The upgraded Tucson with a 2.0-liter diesel engine and an eight-speed automatic gearbox will go on sale in South Korea in the third quarter.

GM Korea Co., the Korean unit of General Motors Co., joined the two bigger rivals by launching the Equinox SUV on Thursday. The GM unit has also decided to launch the Traverse SUV in Korea, though the timeframe for its launch has not yet been decided.

The two Chevrolet SUVs are part of the 15 new and upgraded vehicles GM Korea plans to introduce in Korea over the next five years to help the loss-making Korean unit turn around.

GM Korea said it plans to beef up its lineup with more Chevrolet SUV models in order to increase SUVs as a portion of total sales, to 60 percent from the current 14 percent, over the next five years.

In the coming decade, experts say, some carmakers are expected to promote premium SUVs and others are likely to launch technologically advanced and environmentally-friendly ones to meet the growing global demand for SUVs.

The local players, however, face tough competition from imports, particularly German companies.

Leading the way in Busan are Audi and BMW with their all new premium SUV models. There are also new SUVs coming from Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan Motor Corp.

Audi introduced the Q5 and Q2 SUV, which will be launched here next year, with BMW coming up with the X2, X4 and X5 SUVs to be available this year. Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan introduced the Range Rover plug-in hybrid SUV, with no timeframe for launch, and the X-Trail SUV which is set to be launched in the second half, respectively.

These photos taken on June 7, 2018 show the Audi Q2 and Q5, and Nissan Motor's X-Trail SUV models, from left, during media day at the Busan motor show. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz and Japanese carmakers, such as Toyota Motor Corp. and its independent luxury brand, Lexus, focused on promoting cutting-edge hybrid models.

The German luxury mark unveiled the New E 300 e plug-in and the New S 560 e hybrid models. Toyota displayed the new Avalon hybrid sedan and Lexus introduced the ES300h model, both to be launched here in the second half of this year.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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