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Old 02-07-2006, 03:38 PM   #1
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Default Renault Samsung exports SM3 compacts under Nissan badge

Renault Samsung exports SM3 compacts under Nissan badge


MASAN, South Gyeongsang Province - Renault Samsung Motors Co. shipped off its first batch of SM3 compact sedans bound for Russia and Ukraine yesterday from the southeastern port of Masan.

Renault Samsung plans to export at least 30,000 SM3 vehicles under the Nissan badge this year, about 20 percent of the carmaker's total sales target. The French Renault SA owns 70 percent of the Korean carmaker and 44 percent of Japan's Nissan Motor Co.

In addition to the 1,694 vehicles exported yesterday, more will be shipped to the Middle East, Central and South Americas in March.

The SM3 will replace Nissan's Almera in Russia and Ukraine, and Nissan's Sunny in about 40 other countries, Renault Samsung said. It is the first time Nissan is lending its brand and model names.

The Almera is called the Bluebird Sylphy in Japan and the Sentra in the United States.

"We do not have plans to enter major auto markets such as the United States, China and Japan as Nissan is doing well in those areas," said Kim Joong-hee, a Renault Samsung executive in charge of the export program.

"The export volume of the SM3 is expected to exceed 30,000 units although Nissan will give us the estimated volume after the car makes a Russian market debut in April."

If Nissan requests more than 30,000 units, Renault Samsung said it will consider running its Busan plant in two work shifts.

Kim also said that the diesel version of the SM3 will be launched by March.

The carmaker's SM5 midsize and SM7 large sedans are currently under consideration for exports as well.

Renault Samsung began exporting its SM5 midsize sedans in September 2000. Last year, the nation's smallest automaker sold 3,610 cars abroad, 3 percent of its total sales volume.
More pics of SM3 are available here:
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