Domestic cars that actually showed “If you ignore consumer opinion, you will eventually achieve this goal”

In July, Renault Samsung Motors introduced the SM6 facelift model four years after its launch in 2016. There was a strong reaction at the start of the launch, but as it had been cut off from the market due to the emergence of powerful rival models, consumers expected that the SM6 would transform itself through a facelift.

At the start of the launch of the new car, the response was quite good. This is because the drivetrain has also changed and the S-Link, which was pointed out for inconvenience, has also been improved. Nevertheless, SM6 sales volume has been struggling with the record for several months. Why is the sales volume so low despite the facelift? Today’s AutoPost Issue Plus takes another step in the SM6 story.

Written Joonyoung Park Editor

At the beginning of the release, after the show
Completely downhill
Renault Samsung SM6 is the most talkative and ridiculous car among the mid-size sedans in the house. At the start of its launch in 2016, it enjoyed great popularity that threatened the Sonata and K5. At the time of launch, it was the first midsize car in its class to feature LED turn signals, applied nappa leather seats and fitted R-MDPS to achieve sporty athletic performance.

However, the SM6 went all the way downhill, pointing to the controversial rear suspension torsion bar as its biggest weakness. Unlike other rival sedans that use multi-links, the SM6 has torsion bar suspension and the ride in the second row is so stiff it’s not at all suitable for a family car. Since its launch, quality issues have also arisen and the used car ERA price has also become one of the factors that make new car buying hesitant.

Appeared in 4 years
Model with face lift
Instead of innovative change
Trying to improve problems
Since then, while the Sonata and K5 completely changed, SM6 recently unveiled a facelift model, which hasn’t changed much. As of 2020, the SM6 was completely abandoned in the mid-size sedan market, so to turn the mood it took something unconventional to crush the mid-size sedans in its class to reverse the atmosphere.

However, Renault Samsung focused on improving the parts identified as weaknesses in the existing SM6 rather than continuing with a full payment facelift. The design changed only the small details and the controversial rear suspension maintains the torsion beam as before, but the modular valve system (MVS) was applied and the large capacity hydrobus was complemented to achieve a comfortable ride.

Just over 500 pieces per month
Very low sales volume despite new clocks
However, the sales volume of the new SM6, which is said to have been so transformed, is not very good. No, it was worse than before the facelift. SM6, which sold about 700 units per month before Facelift, has now reached the level of just 500 units per month.

From the launch of the facelift model to November, the total sales volume of Korean mid-size sedans shows that Kia K5 came in first place with 33,386 units, Hyundai Sonata in second place with 17,250 units, Renault Samsung SM6 in third place with 2,348 units copies and Chevrolet Malibu. 2,246 units took last place. The market share of SM6 is 5%, in fact, it can only be seen that the new model has been completely withdrawn from the market once it is released on the market.

November is the market for mid-sized sedans
Stayed at the bottom
At the moment, looking at the sales volume in November, the results have not changed much. In terms of market share, the K5 accounted for 60% and the Sonata for 31%, and the two models accounted for 91% of the mid-size sedan in the house. Hence, Hyundai Kia Motors is said to be a dominant market.

In November, even the Chevrolet Malibu was overtaken, leaving the SM6 at the lower end of its sales volume. What is the reason for the low sales volume despite strengthening marketability through a facelift and improving existing weaknesses?

1. “With this money you can buy grandeur”
Price issue that has been brought up steadily
The first is the price that is considered the most important among real consumers. The SM6 underwent a facelift and the price increased slightly compared to the previous model. The 1.3 petrol turbo model costs 24.5 million won for the cheapest trim and 3265 million won for the upper trim The actual purchase price, including tax, increases from 26.61 million won for the full option to 3,961 million won for the full option .

For the 1.8 petrol turbo model, the cheapest trim is 3,073 million won, and the top trim 34.2 million won, and the actual purchase price, including tax, goes up from 32.82 million won to 4132 million won for full options. As a result, many consumers have no choice but to respond by saying, “It’s too expensive for a mid-size sedan” and “If you put a small option in the SM6, it’s better to buy a Granger.”

2. “Even the top trim
Lane maintenance is optional “
Relatively missing specifications
Options that were relatively inadequate compared to other mid-sized sedans were also classified as fatal weaknesses of the SM6. Many consumers in particular complain about the ADAS function.

Rival models Sonata and K5 come standard with lane maintenance support in the lowest trim, which is a standard spec, but the SM6 should add a driving assistance package costing 940,000 won, even in the premium trim, which costs 3265 million won, for blind spot warning and lanes. Maintenance assistance, 360 ‘camera has been applied.

If you choose the mid-range LE, you have to add some optional features to the base price of 28.96 million trim won, so you can enjoy the same level as other mid-sized sedans. But then it would be a heavy burden, as the 30 million won would be overwhelmed.

3. “The limit of the torsion beam cannot be overcome”
The ride is still full of discontent
When adopting the modular valve system (MVS) and improving driving comfort with a large capacity hydrobus, real car owners still complained about the ride comfort of the SM6. There is an evaluation that it is less rigid than the existing model, but there is still a series of evaluations that “the limit of the torsion beam could not be overcome”.

In fact, even some customers who have test-driven to purchase the SM6 are spreading reviews saying, “I was curious how much it was after hearing the rumors.

4. “It’s been half the price for a one-year ride”
Severe used car depreciation compared to other companies
The very high depreciation of used cars has also become a factor that will lead to hesitation in the choice of Renault Samsung. Many consumers say, “I am reluctant to buy a new Renault Samsung car because of the negligible depreciation of used cars.”

In fact, it can be seen that the 2019-style SM6 sales of SM6, which were only about a year old, are now trading at the start of 20 million prizes won, amortized by 40% based on the new car price. Obviously, over two years’ sales are plentiful, even at the close of 10 million won. When nearly half of the depreciation comes in a year after the new car is shipped, the owners who want to sell used cars have no choice but to put on a bitter smile.

(Photo = Renault Samsung Motors)

5 “It is difficult to grind the air conditioner filter”
Almost worst maintainability
In fact, maintainability is also seen as one of the frequently mentioned annoying factors among Renault Samsung car owners. In the case of the recently released XM3, there has been a big improvement, but until now Renault Samsung had to remove the interior material and go through a complicated process, even with one air conditioner filter.

Even among established mechanics, Renault Samsung is notorious for maintainability. Because the parts prices are also higher than those of Hyundai-Kia Motors, it is also a disadvantage that you also have to pay high costs for maintenance after the expiry of the warranty period.

To the needs of the consumer
Consistent results with silent or negative answers
In addition, many consumers said, “The different things that have been improved with Facelift are those that should have been improved within a year of its launch in 2016,” “How many times have Sonata and K5 changed?” They kept saying they couldn’t change their mind.

In particular, the point of the torsion beam rear suspension, which was the most controversial, continued. A netizen said, “If the multilink is difficult to change due to the structure of the vehicle, the countermeasures should have been taken quickly, but it was the result of ignoring consumer demands for four years.” Unfortunately, as consumers respond, the SM6 classics are expected to continue. It was Auto Post Issue Plus.

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