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Besides economy and performance, there also is the prestige factor. Bragging rights are a strong feature of Korean culture and the domestic diesels approach the status of the coveted German imports that mostly are diesel-powered.
New Grandeur shares 2.2L all-aluminum diesel engine with Santa Fe CUV.
Diesel power is prominent among the 22 imported brands that hold about 14% of the Korean domestic market.
Korea CEO Jung Jae-hee, who also is chairman of the Korean Automobile Importers and Distributors Assn., says imports’ diesel ratio is 70% and growing.
The ratio for import-market leaders, Audi, and Mercedes runs around 80%.
Even, which has only a 4.75% slice of the import market, may add a diesel midsize car or SUV later this year, Jung has said.
The automaker’s reliance on its EcoBoost gasoline engines to bolster sales apparently has worked so far. Ford ranks fifth in sales of imported brands and deliveries spiked 41.4% to 2,906 units in the first four months of 2014. But times are changing.
Ford tried marketing diesels in Korea in 2008 but the technology and meeting the existing regulations proved too expensive. But the automaker introduced the Focus Diesel to the country last year and Jung says the trend toward diesel power in the Korean market cannot be ignored.