Range Rover sees potential in Korean market
‘If one can make it in Seoul one can make it anywhere’ – with this attitude Range Rover came to participate in Seoul moto-show with its new Range Rover SUV model in November 2019. Sideliner in the world of luxury motor -shows, Seoul is quickly growing its status thanks to its wealthy population in Kangnam district. Imagine that you take a local bus in Apgujong or Cheongdam and the bus stops at red lights. Chances are high that a Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes or some other luxury car will stopping right next to you. Seoul is no longer a Hyundai empire as it used to be 10 something years ago. FTAs with EU and US brought down tariffs for automobiles and increased presence of luxury European cars in Seoul.
1.Korean families and auto preferences
While majors like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Audi did not yet present at Seoul, Range Rover chose Korean capital over other motor shows. The reason is because the brand thinks that matching to wants and needs of demanding Seoul customers may increase chances for its success in other countries. Indeed, specificities of the market make Seoul a good place for Range Rover.
Koreans tend to prefer big cars which are convenient for family travels. There are other considerations too. Most of the people who live living in Seoul came from provinces. They still have parents and other parts of families in those provinces. So it is common to visit parents during major holidays. On such occasions, automobile becomes a major mode of travel. Korea is fairly small. The farthest place is maximum 7 hours away from Seoul (not taking into account Jeju island). If one plans to travel 7 hours by car with kids, then a big car is a must.
2. Korean landscape influences car choices
Another reason to have a powerful SUV is mountainous landscape of Korea. Although not perceived as a mountainous country, mountains make up 70% of the territory. When travelling around Korea, one has to pass through long tunnels, go up steep inclines, and take countryside roads. If Koreans decide to make a trip to the East coast they might consider to do surfing, golfing, hiking. Extra activities means extra sport equipment and extra space in a car. Some people may also venture to drive all the way to Busan, take a ferry with their car to Jeju and make a hole tour of this magical island in search of famous women-divers. It’s hard to imagine fitting this all into Porsche, Ferrari and other luxury cars on such a trip. So Range Rover SUV can well be a perfect choice.
3. Americanisation of Korean tastes has its role too
Not a large factor but still one that needs to be taken into consideration is American experiences of many Koreans. Its common to go for studies in the US at some point of a training or professional career. In this case many Koreans have an image of travelling in the US where large cars are popular as well. It could well be that the big car experience was initially looked up in the US.
So, the formula ‘if one can make it in Seoul, one can make it globally’ can work for Range Rover. Matching needs of family comfort with national landscape, personal preferences not forgetting a technology aspect (Korea is a technology savvy place!) can be a challenging task indeed.
Bon courage, Range Rover!