The Korea Times
Mercedes debuts A-Class sedan, Land Rover displays limited edition Velar
By Nam Hyun-woo
GOYANG, Gyeonggi Province ― Leading import automobile brands introduced a slew of fresh models and variations dedicated to the Korean market during the 2019 Seoul Motor Show, to recover their slowing sales here in the recent months.
The number of imported cars registered in February declined by 20 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association. Import brand officials at the show said they expect the new cars introduced at the show might help them resuscitate their slowing sales.
At the show at KINTEX in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, Mercedes-Benz showcased a lineup of three Asia premiere models and eight Korea premiere models, highlighted by the new A-Class sedan.
The sedan, unveiled at the show for the first time in Asia, has a new body type for the class, previously available as a hatchback. It distinguishes itself with an agile bodyline which produces a 0.22 drag coefficient, the lowest among production cars worldwide. Also, the new sedan produces 224 horsepower with its 2.0 liter bi-turbo gasoline engine.
“The new A-Class sedan is the first sedan body of the A-Class, and we’re quite sure that the sedan will meet Korean customers’ taste,” Yoon Ji-hyun of Mercedes-Benz said during the brand’s press conference.
Along with the new sedan, the new GLE SUV and the new CLA 4-door coupe made their Korean and Asian debut at the show, respectively. The new GLE is a full-size SUV but yields 389 horsepower from a six-cylinder engine, enabling it to reach 100 kilometers per hour in 5.7 seconds.
Also at the conference, Mercedes-Benz Korea CEO Dimitris Psillakis introduced the Vision EQ Silver Arrow as an Asia premiere. It is a concept car that pays homage to the 1938 W125 Silver Arrow, which Psillakis said offers a glimpse to the brand’s future design direction.
Jaguar Land Rover unveiled the Range Rover Velar SV Autobiography Dynamic for the first time in the world, and also showed the all new Range Rover Evoque and the new Jaguar XE for the first time in Asia.
The midsize SUV is a limited edition variation of the Velar, which was awarded World Car Design of the Year in 2018. Manufactured by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, its 5.0-liter V8 engine produces 550 horsepower and allows it to reach 100 kilometers per hour in 4.5 seconds.
The British brand also introduced the new Evoque with a special coloring named “Seoul Pearl Silver,” saying it plans to launch the model in June.
“As the importance of the Korean market is growing, we plan to expand our service network in Korea through more investment,” Jaguar Land Rover Korea CEO Baek Jung-hyun said.
Another noticeable trend at this year’s show was the aggressive expansion of French brands.
Citroen unveiled the new C5 Aircross SUV and the new C3 Aircross compact SUV for the first time in Korea, while DS Automobile introduced the DS3 Crossback in an Asia premiere.
Hanbul Motors, the domestic dealer of the two brands and Peugeot, said it will launch 10 new models in the local market and spend 55 billion won to expand the brands’ service networks and build a pre-delivery inspection center in Gyeonggi Province.
Electric car maker Tesla made its first appearance at the Seoul Motor Show, presenting its Model S, Model X and Model 3. The Model 3, one of the cheaper models in the brand, was introduced to Koreans at the show as the brand said it plans to receive domestic orders for the car in the fourth quarter.