The next versions ofSamsung Motors Inc.â€™s SM series of cars reportedly will be built on platforms produced by Renault SA from 2009, instead of their current Motor Co. Ltd.-developed architectures.
The Korean daily newspaper Chosen Ilbo quotesSamsung CEO Jean-Marie Hurtiger as saying the just-released SM5 New Impression model will be replaced by a new car built on the same platform as Renaultâ€™s Laguna III model, which launches this October.
Hurtiger also is quoted as saying the SM3 small sporty car will be replaced by a car built from Renaultâ€™s Megane II architecture, while the platform that is to replace the current Vel Satis will be used for the new SM7 sedan.
The information comes during a question and answer session following a news conference to introduce the upgraded SM5 New Impression, a source tells Wardâ€™s.
A Renault Samsung spokesman neither confirms nor denies the report, telling Wardâ€™s, â€śI canâ€™t release information on projects under development.â€ť
At the news conference, Hurtiger says he expects the revised SM5 New Impression to sell 6,000 units per month, helping to offset the auto makerâ€™s domestic sales declines.
He projects the SM5 New Impression and a new (unnamed) SUV that goes on sale at the end of the year will help boost total sales by 7.4% to 172,300 units, of which 120,000 will be sold in Korea.
Hurtiger says Renault Samsung invested 200 billion won ($217 million) to redesign the New Impression, which benefits from a new 4-cyl. 2.0L engine produced at the auto makerâ€™s engine plant in Busan.
Various Renault plants around the world will also get the new engine later this year, he says.
The SM5 New Impression sells in Korea from 20 million won-25.5 million won ($21,676-$27,636).
Meanwhile, a Paris news report says Renault Samsung may produce a large version of the Renault Espace multipurpose vehicle at its Busan plant in the 2009-2010 timeframe.