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April 22, 2024

First Jeep EV to make Korean debut in H2

PUBLISHED : April 01, 2024 - 17:40

UPDATED : April 01, 2024 - 17:40

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Bang Sil, managing director of Stellantis Korea, speaks to reporters in northern Seoul on Monday. (Stellantis Korea)

Stellantis will launch the Avenger, the Jeep brand’s first all-electric sports utility vehicle, in Korea in the second half of this year as the global automaker looks to focus on regaining customer trust and bolstering its brand image here, the company’s recently appointed head said Monday.

“Challenges and opportunities still co-exist in (the Korean market),” said Bang Sil, managing director of Stellantis Korea, in her first press conference since starting in her role as Korean head at the automaker in February.

“Just as (streaming services) such as Netflix and Tving have replaced traditional broadcasters and created a thirst for alternatives (in the market) ... I believe Stellantis Korea’s two brands, (Jeep and Peugeot), can quench the thirst of those looking for alternatives in the car market."

Pointing out that about 50 percent of Stellantis’ customers have switched their cars from Korean brands to Jeep and Peugeot, Bang voiced confidence that Stellantis vehicles have good odds of winning more customers if they approach the Korean market by promoting their appeal.

On top of launching the Jeep Avenger, the managing director highlighted that the Peugeot 308 mild hybrid vehicle will also hit the Korean market in the second half of this year as part of the automaker’s efforts to strengthen its brand and meet the increasing demand for hybrid vehicles amid the slowing growth of EVs.

“To get off on the right foot to regain trust, we will stabilize our pricing policies,” Bang said.

“We will stay away from discount policies such as giving a 3-million-won ($2,225) discount at the beginning of a month, changing it to a 5-million-won discount in the middle of the month and finally switching it to a 7-million-won discount at the end of the month,” Bang noted on the discounts offered to customers.

From left: The new 2024 Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Grand Cherokee 4ex, Peugeot 408 and Peugeot 308 (Stellantis Korea)

Speaking on high interest rates, Bang noted the company's partnership with Woori Financial Capital signed in March will offer appealing installment plans for customers ranging from zero to 4 percent interest rates.

Bang unveiled a plan to speed up the process of turning the automaker’s showrooms and service centers into Stellantis brand houses this year that will offer combined experiences of both Jeep and Peugeot brands. Additionally, Stellantis Korea plans to open two brand houses in Wonju, Gangwon Province, and Gwangju this year.

The managing director vowed to increase the company's sales target starting next year as Stellantis focuses on expanding its presence in the Korean market this year while expecting to maintain the sales volume at a similar level as last year.

According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association’s data, Jeep sold 4,512 vehicles last year, down 37 percent from 2022 whereas Peugeot sold 2,026 units, up 3.1 percent from the previous year.

Bang is the first Korean and female managing director of Stellantis Korea. She also stands as the only female head of any auto importer after Audi Korea announced its decision to let go of Lim Hyun-ki last week.

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)
The Korea Herald

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