Renault Samsung Motors launched its sport utility vehicle "The new QM6 LPG," which is the first Korean vehicle to be installed with an LPG engine. There is much attention on whether the automaker could recover its sales volume that decreased due to the Busan factory strike.
The company announced Sunday that it will start signing pre-contracts for the new model from Monday. The QM6 LPG is a facelift model of the existing diesel-type QM6 and the only LPG-type SUV in Korea. Its unique feature is the donut-shaped (donut tank) fuel tank unlike other LPG vehicles that carry a cylindrical tank in the trunk. Renault Samsung Motors invested some 20 billion won for two years to develop its donut tank which can be attached to the space for an emergency tire at the bottom of the trunk.
The car’s trunk is just as spacious as gasoline or diesel vehicles as its fuel tank does not take up a lot of space. The tank is designed to be under the seat so that it would not infiltrate into the back seats when there is a crash in the rear. It uses lighter but harder steel sheets than cylindrical tanks and its thickness is 15 percent higher which significantly enhanced safety. “The QM6 LPG can drive more than 500 kilometers with 60 liters of LPG,” said an insider of the company. “Drivers can save a lot of fuel cost as LPG is only half the price of gasoline and the car itself has great driving performance as it has similar horsepower as gasoline engines.”
The company’s domestic sales have been sluggish due to the labor union strike following the unsuccessful wage negotiation between labor and management as well as absence of new models. It sold 6,130 vehicles in Korea last month, 16.5 percent lower than last year and the lowest sales record among domestic carmakers. It focuses on recovering its sales in the Korean market by launching the mid-size sedan SM5 Adieu earlier this month. The SM5 Adieu is a classic model of the SM5 launched in 1998 and only 2,000 of it will be sold. It has the same specifications as SM classic, but the price is 1.55 million won lower at 20 million won than the price applied with lower special income tax.