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Korean price and quality undermines European brand dominance, says EurotaxGlass's

Korean manufacturers are now building cars with European appeal.

EurotaxGlass's says they are strengthening their position within the European car market brushing off the reputation for being cheap to buy, but definitely not cheerful in reliability terms.

Total Korean car sales are up 5.2% year-to-date in Europe compared to last year and sales in Europe have been climbing steadily since the turn of this century.

"The combination of high specification, improved quality and designs that appeal to European tastes, have made Korean products more attractive," said Martin Verrelli, head of the EurotaxGlass's market intelligence unit. "The economic advantages associated with Asian manufacturing allow for very competitive pricing, and the established European volume manufacturers are really feeling the pressure."

Models such as the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Sonata have been able to compete head on with the established European competition in their respective segments. There is an increasing demand on the used car market which has a positive effect on residual values.

"If Korea continues to produce desirable vehicles at prices that undermine European brands, we may see the complexion of Europe's car market volume segment change significantly over the next few years," said Verrelli.

Korean products now account for 3.85% of the European car market compared to 2.88% in 2002.

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