What Do The BMW 523i And The Ford Taurus Have In Common?

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
what do the bmw 523i and the ford taurus have in common

Give up? The answer is that they’re giving South Korea a headache. OK, let’s go back a bit. The Korea Times reports that something funny is happening to the South Korean car market. Effectively, for years, the South Korean car market used to be closed off to foreign competition, thus, keeping domestic production and sales high. The market for foreign was only for the exclusively rich who didn’t mind paying the tariffs. But now, even the proletariat is getting in on the act. In spite of a global slump in the market, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) reports that foreign imports rose, month on month, by 51.1 percent, to 7,208 units in April. Still a drop in the water: Korea makes 3.5m cars in a good year, of which 2.5m are exported. But it’s a start.

The reason for this surge in foreigners invading South Korea lies with the very reason South Koreans are invading other markets. “Prices of domestic vehicles have substantially appreciated during the past years in line with improving quality and brand power. In comparison, those of foreign ones decreased to cut down on the difference between the two,” a Seoul analyst said. “Hence, Koreans now have few reasons to stick to cars of Hyundai Motor or Kia Motors. They tend to buy whatever models, which attract them in terms of price or quality and such aspects will only strengthen further down the road.” Quality can be a pain in the wallet. Also, there is a thing called WTO. It cuts both ways.

Now, Ford Korea and BMW Korea are having trouble supplying the South Korean public with enough units of the Ford Taurus and the BMW 523i to keep them placated. BMW could only supply 200 units, trouble was, demand asked for 3000 units. And it’s not just BMW and Ford that are enjoying this boom. Similar stories exist for the Toyota Camry and the Volkswagen Golf TDI. South Korea’s population is currently at just over 50 million people. Which means that a significant market could be opening up for foreign car makers. And an almighty headache could be around the corner for South Korean car makers. Anyone got a Tylenol?

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  • Telegraph Road Telegraph Road on May 09, 2010

    The engineering content of vehicles is much more than the base platform. What Volvo has an EcoBoost powertrain? And what foreign engineering can be traced to the most popular vehicle in the U.S., the Ford F-150?

    • Newcarscostalot Newcarscostalot on May 10, 2010

      Perhaps he means parts sourced from other countries, not engineering. I have always wondered, do Chinese or Europeans, for example, complain about cheap American Made crap taking jobs away from them?

  • NN NN on May 10, 2010

    I can't see the Taurus really being popular in Korea. Maybe Ford is only sending 100 of them over for 2010, and there's demand for 150.

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