Hyundai, Kia premium sedans to ferry leaders
By Kim Tae-gyu
The organizing committee of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit is providing hundreds of vehicles for participants of the event to use in daily travel in the capital.
Hyundai Motor Group is offering 262 vehicles in four models, while BMW Korea is giving 109 cars in two models.
A total of four Hyundai Motor Group ― comprising Hyundai and Kia ― models will be available to world leaders taking part in the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit.
They are Equus limousines, Equus sedans and Starex vans from Hyundai Motor and Mohave sports utility vehicles (SUVs) of Kia Motors.
Out of the 262 cars from the group, 105 are the upscale luxury Equus model, known as the Hyundai Centennial in the Middle East.
The Equus limousine is a status symbol loved by businessmen and politicians as the most expensive locally manufactured vehicle.
New Management recently surveyed 168 chief executive officers of the nation’s largest corporations in terms of annual sales and found 102 of them picked the Equus as the best car.
The Equus, which comes with either a 5,000cc or 3,800cc engine, has been named the top model by them for 10 years in a row since 2002 when New Management started the yearly study.
Negating conventional belief that Koreans overly love made-in-Korea vehicles, they continue to purchase imported brands such as Volkswagen, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
Yet, the dominance of the Equus seems to be invincible among entrepreneurs who do not show any signs of wrapping up their love affair with the luxury car despite the massive influx of expensive foreign brands.
Hyundai Motor first produced the Equus (Latin for horse) in 1999 with the aim of competing with global premium cars such as the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and Lexus LS.
The Hyundai Starex made a successful debut in 1997 as it was offered in various configurations including minibus, van, pick-up, ambulance and taxi.
The second-generation of the model came to town in 2007 and inherited the popularity of its predecessor.
The Kia Mohave, which is available in the United States as the Kia Borrego, is a mid-size SUV that was introduced to the Korean and US markets in 2008, three years after its concept was first revealed in 2005.
The model was the brainchild of world-famous automotive designer Peter Schreyer, the former chief designer for Audi.
BMW offers 7 Series, Gran Turismos
As far as the imported vehicle market is concerned, BMW is a living legend in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
The German automaker tapped into Korea in 1995 and became the No. 1 imported brand during the first decade of the new millennium, nudging past compatriots Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.
BMW Korea was selected to offer 109 cars of the 7 and 5 Series Gran Turismo for the nuclear summit, the only foreign player.
The BMW 7 Series is a luxury vehicle, which has basked in the international spotlight as the company’s flagship model since its release in the late 1970s.
In Korea, the BMW 7 Series is one of the best selling models despite its high price tag. Last year alone, more than 2,000 7 Series vehicles were sold to carve out a substantial portion of BMW Korea’s annual sales of 23,293.
The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is also an advanced sedan, which offers wide space for people and cargo as it combines attributes of both a wagon and crossover.