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2014-06-02 08:19

PREMIUM DIESEL SEDAN: Hyundai unveiled its diesel version of its Grandeur (Azera) sedan at the 2014 Busan International Motor Show in Busan, Korea. Image - Hyundai

SEOUL, South Korea - Hyundai has unveiled two luxury sedans built for its South Korean home market as part of an effort to fend off surging imports from the likes of BMW and Audi.

The automaker unveiled the AG and a diesel version of its Grandeur (Azera outside Korea) sedan at the 2014 Busan International Motor Show.

The models reveal Hyundai's jitters about imports from Europe and the US which have soared in popularity since free-trade deals cut tariffs on foreign-built vehicles in recent years.


The AG, slotted between the Grandeur and Genesis, will retail for the equivalent of R466 000 in Korea later in 2014.

Kim Sang-dae, a Hyundai domestic salesman, said: "There is a big price gap between Grandeur and Genesis and it has spurred many customers to shift to imported cars. We want to narrow the gap with the AG."

Vehicle market analyst Yang Hee-joon said: "With its new models Hyundai faces the challenge of winning back domestic customers lost to importing automakers. The key is to differentiate the AG from other large cars so that they don't eat into each other's sales."


The Grandeur Diesel has a modified version of the 2.2 engine used in the Santa Fe that is capable of 148kW/441N. The new premium sedan is Hyundai's first large diesel car built for its domestic market and is aimed at a segment in which imports are making strong gains.

The Grandeur gains some minor cosmetic revisions such as a redesigned front bumper with LED lights, a new grille and revised rear. The cabin has a remodelled centre console that carries the automaker’s latest heating, ventilation and aircon controls and a 20cm info screen.

The new diesel has revised motor-driven power-steering, blind-spot vehicle detection,collision warning and lane-departure alerts.

Hyundai’s domestic marketing director Kim Sang Dae said: “High-end customers seeking to move up from the Grandeur sedan started to turn to imported brands. The price gap between the Grandeur and the Genesis (about R310 000 and R516 00, respectively) seemed to play a part.”

Importers expect to more than double their South Korean market share to 20% by 2016. Diesel cars accounted for 62% of imports to South Korea in 2013, up from 25% in 2010. German automakers, in particular, registered double-digit sales growth by offering fuel-efficient diesels at affordable prices.


South Korea is one of few markets dominated by domestic automakers, with Hyundai and Kia accounting for about 70% of car sales in 2013. Hyundai/Kia report that Korea accounts for 66% of its sales.

The Detroit News reports that in March 2014 Hyundai unveiled its revised Sonata, targeting 63 000 sales in Korea and 165 000 overseas, reports the DetNews.

Read more on:    hyundai  |  south korea  |  diesel  |  new models

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