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Korean carmakers gear up for bigger presence in Europe

Kia unveils ProCeed, e-Niro; Hyundai reveals high performance version of i30 at star-studded Paris Motor Show

Oct. 2, 2018 - 18:08 By Cho Chung-un
PARIS -- With the French capital raising the curtain on new cars targeting customers in Europe, Korean carmakers are gearing up to accelerate sales growth in the region with cars designed to be both dynamic and energy efficient.

At the Paris Motor Show, which celebrates its 120th anniversary this year, Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motors unveiled new cars exclusively designed to target the audience here.

Kia introduced the ProCeed, a five-door wagon developed to continue the success of Cee’d, a three-door compact car that has led the company’s improvement of its brand reputation since its debut in 2006.

Emilio Herrera (right), Kia Motors’ Europe Division COO, and Gregory Guillaume, chief designer of Kia Motors’ Europe Design Center, pose with the ProCeed unveiled at the Paris Motor Show on Tuesday. (Kia Motors)

With improved cargo space, design and functionality, the ProCeed will open a new chapter for Kia’s success in Europe, said officials.

“Alongside the Cee’d five-door and Sportswagon, the ProCeed will drive Kia to even greater success. Building on the same emotion as the Stinger, I have no doubt that it will be as groundbreaking for Kia as the Cee’d was in 2006,” said Emilio Herrera, chief operating officer of Kia Motors’ Europe division at a press conference held during a preview session of the show.

The new vehicle, announced at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, features a low-slung roofline, muscular shoulders and full-width rear light-emitting diode light-bar, which embody Kia’s youthful dynamism. Launched at the Paris Motor Show in 2006, more than 1.3 million Cee’d units have been sold, backed by the company’s seven-year warranty program, according to Kia.

“Designed, developed and engineered exclusively for Europe, the new ProCeed is a bold and striking reinterpretation of our performance hatchback ambassador,” said Gregory Guillaume, chief designer of Kia Motors’ Europe Design Center

Along with ProCeed, the company unveiled the new electric vehicle, the e-Niro, for customers wanting to drive in an easy, fun and reliable way.

It can drive up to 485 kilometers on a single charge, according to the company

The new electric vehicle caters to growing sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars, it added.

Hyundai Motor, meanwhile, unveiled the high performance version of the i30, named the i30 Fastback N. The third high performance vehicle under Hyundai’s N project is based on the five-door i30, but is 120 millimeters longer and 28 millimeters lower to accentuate a sporty look. The high performance car will hit the market by the end of the year.
The i30 Fastback N is displayed at Hyundai Motor’s showroom at Paris Motor Show on Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor)

Under the theme of high performance, eco-friendly and design, Hyundai brought 16 models to showcase its company vision. The list of models include the Nexo, a fuel cell vehicle powered by hydrogen, and the Kona Electric.

“We will further accelerate Hyundai’s growth in the high performance market in Europe by continuing the popularity of N models that started with the launch of the i30 N released late last year,” an official said.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the EQC, the very first Mercedes EQ model that consumes a combined 22.2 kWh per 100 km.

“As the firstborn of an entire family of exciting new electric cars, the EQC points the way into our all-electric future: We will keep everything our customers love about driving a Mercedes and embed it in an ecosystem of new services and features,” said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche at the press conference.

Meanwhile, Renault unveiled a strikingly innovative EZ-Ultimo, a robo vehicle concept designed to be a driverless vehicle offering a premium travel experience. While stressing its commitment toward a green future, Renault said it is testing a robo-driven car and is collaborating with the city of Paris to provide a 100 percent electric car service, calling itself the leader of future mobility.

By Cho Chung-un, Korea Herald correspondent