A wave of new releases is expected to lead to fierce competition in the auto market here. Among 20 domestic models and 60 models from foreign automakers set for release this year, SUVs are the most abundant with a slew of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Ssangyong Motor will kick things off with the release of its brand-new seven-seater multi-purpose SUV Korando Turismo on Wednesday, followed by the unveiling of its pickup truck, Q200, a week later.
Hyundai plans to unveil the latest version of its quirky Veloster hatchback at the North American International Auto Show, better known as the Detroit Motor Show, set to open late next week.
The automaker is also set to unveil a hydrogen-powered electric vehicle in February, in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
In the first quarter it will release an electric version of its Kona SUV that can travel up to 390 km on a single charge. The new version of its popular Santa Fe SUV will hit the market in the first half of this year, while its affiliate, Kia will roll out its new K3 and K9 sedans.
GM Korea and Renault Samsung hope to rebound from declining sales with new releases. GM Korea will start selling its midsize SUV, Chevrolet Equinox, in the first half of this year, while Renault Samsung will release its Clio hatchback in the second quarter. The hatchback has sold over 10 million units in Europe since 1990.
Meanwhile, BMW plans to roll out about a dozen new models including the small luxury X2 SUV and the high-performance M5 sedan in the first quarter. Mercedes-Benz will release its CLS four-door luxury coupe.
Volvo will launch its new XC40 SUV, while Porsche will release the new version of its luxury Cayenne SUV along with a couple of hybrid models.
Volkswagen, which has been suspended from selling vehicles in Korea, is set to resume sales with the new version of its popular Tiguan SUV.