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Busan mobility show to bank on hybrid, EV debuts

June 10, 2024 - 14:48 By Moon Joon-hyun
The 2024 Busan International Mobility Show will take place from June 27 to July 7 at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center. (Korea Automobile & Mobility Association)

The 2024 Busan International Mobility Show will take place later this month amid challenges faced by traditional auto shows worldwide, with Hyundai-Kia, Renault Korea and BMW Korea expected to unveil their latest electric and hybrid models.

The biannual event, hosted at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center, will commence with a press day on June 27 and continue until July 7. This year’s show coincides with the decline of long-standing auto exhibitions like the Geneva Motor Show, which was discontinued after 119 years. Despite this, Hyundai Motor Company, Kia, Renault Korea and BMW Korea will participate, while other major automakers have opted out.

A teaser silhouette image of Aurora 1, the company's codename for a mid-size hybrid sport utility vehicle. (Renault Korea)

Renault Korea is generating significant buzz with the world premiere of its Aurora 1, the company's codename for a mid-size hybrid sport utility vehicle, marking the company's first new model introduction since the XM3 in 2020. The Aurora 1 is built on a partnership with Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture platform, owned by China's Geely Automobile Holdings, and will enter mass production at Renault's Busan plant in the latter half of the year. This move aims to reinvigorate the plant and strengthen Renault Korea's position in the hybrid market.

Kia plans to showcase the EV3, a compact electric SUV, which was announced in May and is set to launch in Korea in July. Priced from 46.5 million won ($33,700) for the long-range model, the EV3 boasts a maximum range of 600 kilometers per charge under the European Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure. Although detailed specifications are known, public interest remains high as it will be the first time the general public can see the EV3 at the show.

A teaser image of Casper Electric, an electrified version of its best-selling crossover city car (Hyundai Motor Group)
A teaser image of Casper Electric suggests a maximum driving range of 315 kilometers. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor will debut the electric version of its best-selling Casper crossover city car at the show, having recently released teaser images. One image suggests a maximum range of 315 kilometers on a single charge. Hyundai reportedly plans to launch the Casper in Europe later this year, where it will be marketed under the name Inster, catering to the region's high demand for crossover city cars.

Another potential highlight is Hyundai's mid-sized electric SUV, tentatively named the Ioniq 9, which is expected to launch in the second half of the year. There is considerable speculation about whether this Palisade-sized electric vehicle will be revealed at the show. Its appearance could significantly influence the show's success.

The BMW iX2 is the company's first all-electric sports activity coupe. (BMW Korea)

BMW Korea stands out as the only international brand participating, unveiling the new BMW M4 and BMW's first-ever all-electric sports activity coupe, iX2, for the first time in Korea. BMW Korea regained its position as the top importer in the country last year, surpassing Mercedes-Benz for the first time in eight years.

However, the absence of several key players raises concerns. General Motors Korea and KG Mobility have confirmed they will not attend, and major imported carmakers like Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Toyota are also skipping the event. This limited participation might undermine the show's impact, even with the presence of Hyundai-Kia and Renault Korea.

The Busan Exhibition and Convention Center organizers plan to focus on enhancing visitor engagement.

“This time, we’re focusing on hands-on experiences with more test drives and interactive events to draw in and excite attendees,” said an official from the center.