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Hyosung Group sets sights on super-car business

Continued growth in Ferrari, Maserati sales drives up Hyosung's imported car business

Nov. 29, 2015 - 19:50 By 이선영
Hyosung Group, a South Korean industrial conglomerate specializing in textiles, industrial materials and chemicals, has been transforming itself as one of the largest imported car dealers in Korea since it took over Forza Motors Korea, the importer and distributor of Ferrari and Maserati cars, last March.

The conglomerate, which has already run dealership businesses for Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Lexus cars, inked 605.9 billion won ($523.6 million) in sales from the business last year. 

Maserati Ghibli

“The sharp rise in demand for super cars in Korea could lift up sales of Hyosung’s car dealership business to exceed 800 billion won this year,” an industry source said, based on the sales growth of the two Italian super cars.

Super cars here refer to performance-driven vehicles with a price tag exceeding 100 million won.

“The two brands have performed better this year from a year ago. In particular, we expect sales of Ferrari cars to increase almost twice this year over last year,” FMK Korea president Kim Gwang-chul said in a recent launch event for Ferrari‘s new 488 Spider.

Ferrari's new 488 Spider

Based on the success of Ferrari’s entry-level model California T last year, Ferrari’s importer brought the more expensive 488 GTB and 488 Spider into the Korean market this year. The company has sold more than 50 units of the 488 GTB and received 60 preorders for the 488 Spider.

“The Korean market for Ferrari has been dynamic, especially for the past 18 months, and the new models will help the continued growth of the brand in Korea,” Ferrari Japan managing director Reno De Paoli said in a press conference held on Nov. 17 in Seoul.

Despite the double-digit growth in Korea year-over-year, he made it clear that Ferrari formed a partnership with Hyosung on a long-term basis, with no plans to set up a separate branch of their own here.

“We are happy with the new partnership with Hyosung. Our responsibility is to bring the culture of Ferrari to Hyosung. ... Ferrari is a unique brand and manufacturer of something that no one can fully understand until they experience,” he added.

Italian super car brand Maserati, which Hyosung also imports via its affiliate FMK, has continued its growth momentum in Korea this year, based on the explosive demand for its entry model Ghibli.

For further growth, FMK introduced Maserati’s flagship model Quattroporte Diesel this year and will launch its first sport utility vehicle model ― the Maserati Levante ― next year.

Industry watchers forecast Hyosung will further capitalize on the super car dealership business, pointing out the active participation of Cho Hyun-sang, the group’s executive vice president, in the business. Cho has been in charge of the group‘s industrial materials business.

The third son of the family-controlled group chairman Cho Suck-rai joined the management team of FMK as a registered board member after the takeover deal.

He also has recently purchased a 58.02 percent stake in The Class Hyosung, the second largest dealer for Mercedes-Benz, from Hyosung Corp., the holding company of the group. 

By Seo Jee-yeon (