Renault Samsung to Launch Electric Van in Korea

A spokesman declines to identify the electric van but says there are several options, including importing it from Europe and producing it locally at the company’s Busan plant. He says Renault Samsung hopes to launch the van by year-end.

Vince Courtenay, Correspondent

March 20, 2018

3 Min Read
Signora says electric van will challenge Kia Hyundai in commercialvehicle market
Signora says electric van will challenge Kia, Hyundai in commercial-vehicle market.

Renault Samsung Motors aims to improve its current sales position in Korea with the addition of two imported vehicles, the Renault Clio supermini 5-door hatchback and an unnamed Renault electric commercial van sources say is the Kangoo Z.E. 33 van produced by Renault in France.

The announcement comes from RSM’s new CEO, Dominique Signora, in his first major news conference at the company’s Seoul headquarters. Signora began his duties Nov. 1, taking over from RSM’s first Korean CEO, Park Dong-hoon.

An RSM spokesman confirms the Clio hatch will go on sale in May, with a modest target for at “above 5,000 units.”

The spokesman declines to identify the EV van but says several options are in place, including importing it from Europe or producing it locally at the company’s Busan plant. He says RSM hopes to launch the van by year-end.

Signora says with the electric van, RSM is “throwing down the gauntlet” to challenge both Hyundai and Kia in that niche commercial-vehicle market.

The Kangoo Z.E., if that is the confirmed vehicle, is produced in three versions: the standard model, a Maxi Van version and a Crewcab Kangoo Z.E. 33. All three are powered by the same lithium-ion battery pack, which can deliver a range of 124 miles (200 km) in summer and 75 miles (121 km) in winter on a single charge. In Europe, customers buy the vehicle but lease the battery pack.

The standard model has 163 cu.-ft. (4,612 L) of cargo space and payload capacity of 1,400 lbs. (636 kg).

Signora says the Korean launch of the Clio hatch trails its debut at last April’s Seoul auto show by a full year because it was highly popular in European markets and it was all Renault’s European plants could do to keep up with soaring regional demand until now.

Signora also discloses RSM’s sales target for 2018, which approximates the 2017 result: 100,000 deliveries in Korea and 170,000 exports.

In 2017, RSM’s global sales were up 7.6% with 276,808 vehicles sold in all markets, beating its 270,000-unit target.

In Korea, deliveries fell 9.5% from prior-year to 100,537, while exports rose 21% to 176,271. Signora says the 2018 targets were set so as to be absolutely achievable, and he expects to exceed them.

Shortly after joining RSM in November, Signora identified some of the general goals he was setting. He said the automaker would lead the industry in quality and would rank third in domestic sales, ahead of Ssangyong and GM Korea, which in 2017 ranked fourth and third, respectively, behind Kia and Hyundai.

Signora also said an overriding goal was sustainable, profitable growth.

Signora’s background has been in senior executive posts with the Renault financial subsidiary RCI Bank, formerly called Renault Credit International. RCI provides automotive financing, vehicle insurance and other service for Renault affiliates, including RSM.

Signora had served with RCI and its predecessor since 1991. He served as CEO of RCI Korea from 2006 to 2010. He also has held key posts with RCI in Brazil, Japan, Mexico and Thailand.


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