Nissan may sell luxury cars in South Korea - paper


TOKYO, July 28 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co may sell luxury cars and sport utility vehicles in South Korea from 2004 to compete against Toyota and Honda in the country's growing imported vehicle market, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said on Monday.

The newspaper said Nissan, 44.3 percent owned by French carmaker Renault , was considering making inroads with upscale cars such as the Infiniti models to avoid competition with Renault Samsung Motors, a Renault subsidiary that makes compacts and subcompacts for the Korean market.

A spokeswoman for Nissan, Japan's third-biggest carmaker, said the report was based on speculation and the company had not decided on such a plan.

Imported car sales more than doubled to 16,000 units in South Korea in 2002 as a tariff cut on foreign cars in 1995, to eight percent from 20 percent, boosted demand.

Nissan's rival Toyota Motor Corp started selling cars in South Korea in 1999 after the government lifted a ban on Japanese car imports. Helped by its high-end Lexus range, Toyota became the second-biggest imported car seller in 2002.

Japan's second-largest automaker, Honda Motor Co , said earlier that it planned to sell cars in South Korea.

Imports account for a tiny portion of South Korea's 1.62 million car market, which is dominated by domestic makers.



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