Renault Korea chief displays confidence in success of Grand Koleos SUV

Renault Korea CEO Stephane Deblaise, right, poses Busan Mayor Park Heong-joon, second from right, and the firm’s new Grand Koleos hybrid SUV, on the sidelines of this year’s Busan Mobility Show at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) in the southern port city, Friday. Courtesy of Renault Korea

BUSAN — Renault Korea CEO Stephane Deblaise expressed confidence in achieving a sales rebound with the firm’s strategic premium SUV, the Grand Koleos, highlighting its distinctive driving performance and advanced infotainment systems, he said during an interview with reporters, Thursday.

“Our primary goal is to show our evident differentiation points with the vehicle in the mid-sized SUV market, and the vision will be proven by sales figures,” he said during the interview on the sidelines of this year’s Busan Mobility Show.

He praised the vehicle for its multifaceted strengths in driving performance and the in-vehicle software experience for drivers.

“Grand Koleos offers soft and comfortable driving experiences and Bose sound systems — which we believe stands at the top level in the D-segment SUVs,” he said. “The vehicle’s hybrid system is also outstanding. We are confident that the vehicle comes with a series of clear differentiation points.”

Renault Korea is particularly emphasizing boosting sales of the hybrid version of the vehicle, acknowledging that the electric vehicle (EV) industry has yet to reach a stage of widespread adoption. However, the automaker’s top executive did not disclose any specific sales projections for the vehicle.

“Hybrid vehicles account for around 60 percent in the D-segment SUV market, while the rest is filled by ones with internal combustion engines,” he said. “The market size for EVs remains too small. As the portion of EVs remains very low in the vehicle industry for now, it was not easy for us to introduce a new EV for the time being. We will move in line with demands from customers.”

Grand Koleos is expected to compete with Hyundai Motor’s Santa Fe flagship SUV and Kia’s Sorento in the local market.

The head of Renault Korea, however, did not comment on the price range of the vehicle.

“Its prices will be shared soon, and it will be reasonable,” he said.

Renault Korea is undergoing a significant strategic overhaul. In April, the company opted to feature its iconic losange emblem on its best-selling 추천 models, including the QM6 SUV, aiming to rejuvenate its brand identity and attract younger customers. As part of this initiative, the company also renamed the XM3 compact SUV to Arkana.

The QM series are assembled in the automaker’s Busan plant, but are sold under the Koleos name overseas.

“QM6 is a well-known vehicle in Korea, so we will not change its name, just as we have done so with Arkana,” he said. “After we shared our revamped brand strategy in April, we are changing details one by one.”

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