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Automakers gear up for Frankfurt show

For Korean companies, the 3 words of the year are sport utility vehicle
Sept 13,2017
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Albert Biermann, in charge of Hyundai Motor’s high-performance brand N, delivers a presentation Tuesday ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. The i30 N, the first model under the brand, will debut at the show. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]
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Left: Hankook Tire plans to showcase its latest technology and designs in tire making at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Right: Samsung SDI, Korea’s top battery maker, will introduce its line of electric car batteries at the show. [HANKOOK TIRE, SAMSUNG SDI]
Korean automakers are bringing some exciting models to this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, which kicks off its 10-day run on Thursday in the heart of Germany. From sport utility vehicles to high-performance and eco-friendly cars, Korean automakers are hoping to show the world that they’re on top of the latest trends in the auto industry.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s biggest automaker, will unveil the first model under its high-performance brand N, the i30 N. Moving away from the company’s typical value-for-money vehicles, the hot hatch-style i30 N comes with a gasoline turbo engine and maximum horsepower of 275.

Hyundai Motor first announced the N brand at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and its first commercial model was developed at the automaker’s R&D center in Namyang, Gyeonggi, following test runs in Nurburgring, a motorsports complex in western Germany.

The company will also display the spinoff i30 Fastback model. The five-door hatchback is sportier and more dynamic in design than the i30 N. Hyundai Motor said the i30 N and i30 Fastback will hit the European market by the end of this year. It has yet to decide on a Korean launch.

The much-hyped Kona, Hyundai Motor’s first global small SUV, will make its European debut at the auto show. Sales will begin there in October. The company said it plans to launch a full electric version of the vehicle next year.

“This year marks the 40th anniversary of Hyundai Motor’s entry into the European market,” said Kim Hyung-cheong, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor Europe, detailing the company’s future plans for the market. “Starting next year with a fuel cell car, Hyundai Motor will introduce 15 new eco-friendly models, including four fully electric ones, by the year 2020.”

Hyundai’s smaller affiliate, Kia Motors, will showcase the Stonic, a small SUV hoping to satisfy the growing appetite for sport utility vehicles worldwide. The automaker will be displaying 19 cars at the show, including a hatchback concept car, the Proceed Concept, spun off from Kia Motors’ European lineup C’eed. The concept car is sleeker and equipped with three doors, rather than five.

SsangYong Motor is bringing its large SUV G4 Rexton to Frankfurt along with three other SUV lineups, the Tivoli Air, Tivoli and Korando C.

The company said Tuesday that its G4 Rexton had arrived in Wiesbaden, Germany, on Monday after traversing across the Eurasian continent for the past 50 days. Of the six courses passing through 23 cities, the last leg of the route extending 400 kilometers (250 miles) was driven by SsangYong Motor CEO Choi Johng-shik. During a press event in Wiesbaden, Choi said the company plans to sell 6,000 G4 Rextons in Europe next year.

Korea’s top tire maker, Hankook Tire, is also participating in the auto show as it hopes to woo premium automakers like BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. It will showcase its award-winning tire products including the Flexup, Shiftrac and Autobine.

The auto show will also feature Korean companies outside the auto industry that are hoping to expand their business portfolio.

LG Electronics announced Monday it would be participating in this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show for the first time. It has a booth showcasing its car components including navigation devices and center consoles.

Samsung SDI, a battery maker, will be presenting its multifunctional battery packs, low-height cells and cylindrical batteries in a bid to expand its supply to electric vehicle makers around the world.

The Frankfurt Motor Show, now in its 67th year, will feature some 1,000 companies from 40 countries.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]