Volkswagen Korea, the local unit of the German carmaker, has introduced its new lineup for 2018 -- three sedans and two sport utility vehicles -- seeking to regain its No. 3 position in the imported car market, the company said Wednesday.
The five models are: the new Tiguan midsize SUV, Tiguan Allspace, Arteon four-door coupe, Passat midsize sedan and Passat GT.
“The all new model lineup is made up of sedans and SUVs, based on high customer demand in the market,” said Volkswagen Korea Managing Director Stefan Krapp, during a press event held under the title “Re-loaded” at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul.
“Rebuilding trust in Korea is really important,” he emphasized.
Without pinpointing a definite sales goal for the Tiguan SUV, Krapp said the carmaker is confident the second generation will surpass figures posted by the previous model in 2015.
Prior to the “dieselgate” scandal, the SUV had ranked No. 1 in sales here among imported cars in 2014 and 2015.
Volkswagen Korea Managing Director Stefan Krapp introduces the Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace midsize SUVs during a media event in Dongdaemun Design Plaza, central Seoul. (Volkswagen Korea)
Regarding concerns critics have raised against Volkswagen and Audi for interrupting market order with its discounts, Krapp said “Discounts are normal trend in the auto market. It is nothing special in Korea, but all over the world.”
The Passat GT 2.0 TDI is priced at 43.2 million won ($40,450) here, about 20 million won cheaper than in Germany, the company said.
The return of Volkswagen and Audi -- who previously accounted for a combined 30 percent of Korea‘s imported car market -- and their mark-off deals have fueled import carmakers in offering fierce discount and promotions.
Mercedes-Benz Korea currently takes 8.5 million won off the E200 large sedan on top of various discounts, ultimately cutting down the price of the 60 million won luxury vehicle to about 50 million won.
Backed by aggressive discounts, Mercedes-Benz Korea sold 2,736 units of the E200 last month compared to 818 units in January, according to data from Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
BMW Korea, the No. 2 foreign carmaker here, has also been holding discount promotions worth up to 17 million won for its best-selling 3-Series and 3-Series GT sedans here since February.
Over the past two years, Japanese automaker Toyota has risen to No. 3 in sales, while Mercedes-Benz cemented its position as the No. 1 seller, posting record-high sales here.
By Kim Bo-gyung (email@example.com