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Renault Korea announces rebrand for fresh start

April 3, 2024 - 16:37 By Moon Joon-hyun
From left: Arnaud Belloni, Renault Group's vice president of global marketing, Stephane Deblaise, CEO of Renault Korea, and Gilles Vidal, the group's design director, stand next to the renamed Renault Arkana, formerly the XM3, during a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday. (Renault Korea)

Renault Korea, the Korean branch of the French automotive firm, announced on Wednesday a significant rebranding initiative and the 2025 launch of the Renault Scenic E-Tech, an all-electric compact crossover SUV, in the Korean market.

The announcement was made during a press conference at the Renault Seongsu flagship store in eastern Seoul. The rebranding sees Renault Korea shedding its previous moniker, Renault Korea Motors, in favor of a sleeker identity that simply reads "Renault Korea."

The aesthetic shift is marked by the adoption of the French automaker's original lozenge logo, bidding adieu to the 'storm's eye' emblem inherited from Samsung Motors when it was acquired 24 years ago.

“We’re blending Renault’s French origin with Korean innovation and craftsmanship, creating a unique identity that can be summed up as ‘Born in France, Made in Korea,'” said Renault Korea CEO Stephane Deblaise.

Renault Korea's rebranded QM6 vehicle with a "lozenge" emblem (Renalt Korea)

Existing models will also see changes as part of the rebranding. The QM6 will now feature the lozenge emblem and be rebranded as the new Renault QM6.

The XM3, launched in Korea in 2020 and which enjoys considerable popularity, will be renamed the Renault Arkana, aligning the model with the company's international branding.

For other models, he added, “We felt that the QM6 has a legacy worth preserving, which is why we’re keeping its name. On the other hand, the XM3 will transition to the Arkana name to align with (the car's) global identity. And the SM6 will remain unchanged as we’re moving away from further developments with it.”

Renault Korea's history goes back to the days of Samsung Motors in 1995. The company has since evolved through partnerships and rebranding. It became Renault Samsung Motors in 2000 after being acquired by the Renault Group. The company underwent another name change in 2022 to Renault Korea Motors, reflecting ownership adjustments with Samsung and Geely Motors. The recent shift to Renault Korea and the new lozenge emblem represents a strategic alignment with Renault's global branding.

The Renault Scenic E-Tech is an all-electric family car scheduled for launch in European countries this year and in Korea next year. It offers a driving range of up to 379 miles (609 kilometers) and was voted Car of the Year 2024. (Renault Korea)

Gilles Vidal, Renault's design director, introduced the all-electric crossover Renault Scenic E-Tech and its launch in the Korean market next year. He particularly emphasized its sustainable design, which incorporates up to 24 percent recycled materials and is 90 percent recyclable, including the battery.

Vidal also elaborated on the company’s "Electro Pop" branding and marketing theme connected to their electric vehicle strategy, which comprises E-Tech derived from Formula 1, the OpenR Link connectivity system, and a "human-first" approach to safety. It is a comprehensive effort to make new eco-friendly models with designs that blend retro styling and modern technology

The theme will also extend to the Korean market, with a commitment to introduce at least one new model each year from 2024 to 2026, including both locally produced and imported EVs and hybrids.

The company plans to debut a hybrid mid-size sport utility vehicle, codenamed Aurora1, at the 2024 Busan Mobility Show later this year, part of the Aurora project aimed at achieving a 5 percent domestic market share by 2027, up from the current figure of just 2 percent. This effort will be supported by an investment of 500 million euros ($539 million) in Renault Korea's Busan facilities, with an additional 1 billion euros planned for the future production of electric vehicles in collaboration with Polestar and Renault.

However, Deblaise clarified that “At the moment, we’re not looking to manufacture the Scenic EV in Korea. Our priority in Korean production is on the Aurora project's hybrids.”