Japan’s Toyota Crown relaunches in Korea as diplomatic ties thaw

2023. 6. 7. 11:06
글자크기 설정 파란원을 좌우로 움직이시면 글자크기가 변경 됩니다.

이 글자크기로 변경됩니다.

(예시) 가장 빠른 뉴스가 있고 다양한 정보, 쌍방향 소통이 숨쉬는 다음뉴스를 만나보세요. 다음뉴스는 국내외 주요이슈와 실시간 속보, 문화생활 및 다양한 분야의 뉴스를 입체적으로 전달하고 있습니다.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s The Crown [Photo provided by Toyota Korea]
Japanese automotive industry is intensifying its efforts to win back the heart of Korean consumers with Toyota Motor Corp. relaunching its premium model, The Crown, after a 50-year hiatus on the back of improving relations between South Korea and Japan.

At a press conference held on Monday, Toyota Korea announced the official launch of its flagship sedan, The Crown, in the Korean market. The model, which belongs to the same class as Hyundai Motor Co.’s Grandeur, has been priced in the 50 million won ($38,500) range, considering its competition with the Korean model.

The Toyota model released in Korea combines a sedan and a sports utility vehicle (SUV), reflecting the high preference for SUVs in the Korean market. The car is available in two engine options: a 2.5-liter hybrid (HEV) and a 2.4-liter Dual Boost HEV.

The Crown, which is the oldest model in Toyota’s lineup, makes a comeback after 51 years since the discontinuation of The New Crowns in 1972. The introduction of The Crown, a popular car in Japan, to Korea holds special significance. Until now, the model has been primarily sold in Japan, with minimal sales in overseas markets, excluding countries like the U.S. Toyota aims to significantly increase global sales with the launch of the 16th generation Crown.

The Crown’s launch comes after Toyota’s mid-sized sedan, Camry, which has struggled to gain a significant share of the imported premium car market in Korea. This marks a new challenge for the Japanese brand in Korea, while the recent depreciation of the yen is expected to provide a price advantage. Furthermore, the overall positive atmosphere surrounding Japanese cars due to the recovery of Korea-Japan relations is another favorable factor for the brand.

Other Japanese brands such as Toyota’s Lexus and Honda motor Co. are also preparing for new car launches, sparking anticipation of a revival of the heyday of Japanese cars that dominated the Korean imported car market in the early 2000s.

Lexus also gearing up for a stronger presence in Korea. Lexus Korea plans to launch the first dedicated electric vehicle model, RZ, and the completely redesigned fifth-generation RX model after a gap of seven years. Together with Toyota, Lexus is scheduled to sequentially introduce a total of eight new models this year.

Honda Korea is set to release five new models in Korea, starting with the sixth-generation SUV, All New CR-V Turbo, which was already introduced in April. After two years without a new model, ending with the New Odyssey, a facelift minivan introduced in February 2021, Honda Korea is replacing all of the models it sells in South Korea this year with new models.

According to Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association, the market share of Japanese brands in the Korean imported car market in the first five months of this year reached its highest level in four years at 8.4 percent. Share of Japanese brands had been steadily declining since recording 21.7 percent in 2019 but has reversed the trend this year.

Among Japanese car brands, Lexus has shown the most notable improvement in performance. From January to May this year, the number of new registrations for Lexus in Korea increased by 120 percent from a year ago, reaching 5,295 units. This represents the largest growth rate among the nine imported car brands that have sold more than 2,500 units in the past five months.

Toyota sold 3,012 units in the first five months of this year, up 35 percent from a year earlier.

Copyright © 매일경제 & mk.co.kr. 무단 전재, 재배포 및 AI학습 이용 금지

이 기사에 대해 어떻게 생각하시나요?