Imported Diesel Favoured in Korea
Seoul (16 September 2013) – Korean car manufacturers vice-like grip on the Korean car market is being shaken with recent imports of foreign made diesel vehicles, which are proving simply irresistible to the Korean public. Although the number of imported cars will only be about 15% by the end of the year, 60% of these will be diesel vehicles with the most popular being the BMW 520d, a car actually favoured by BBC TV’s Top Gear programme.
The Korean Automobile Importers and Distributors Association claim that 7 out of 10 of the top selling vehicles last year were diesel powered. The diesel car market is now seen to be expanding rapidly and is mainly led by foreign brands.
To counter the market trend, Korean manufacturers are rapidly adding diesel variants to their line-up. Hyundai has recently launched the upgraded Avante compact sedan with a diesel variant. The all-new diesel powered Avante is drawing attention as its launch is seen as an effort to be taken seriously as a provider of diesel powered vehicles. The car is said to deliver a 16.2 kilometres per litre fuel economy figure. Hyundai are also said to be planning diesel versions of their Sonata and Grandeur models.
Diesel vehicles rule supreme in Europe where over 50% of new cars registered are diesel. The primary reason for this is the lower cost per kilometre travelled. However, it hasn’t always been good news for diesel vehicles; early diesel passenger vehicles used to be equated more with farm vehicles than luxury cars and earned themselves the nick name of “oil-burners”. Recently many European brands have been trying to change that mindset in the USA where diesel passenger vehicles, much like in Korea, are still rare. Volkswagen, in particular, has gone as far as trying to persuade the EPA to change the way it calculates the combined fuel rating to reflect more “real-world driving”. At present, the fuel rating is 55% city driving and 45% highway driving, a ratio that VW executives claim does not reflect current driving habits.