Renault Samsung Motors, South Korea

Renault Samsung Motors, South Korea

Renault Samsung Motors



Dominique Signora

Busan, South Korea


Renault Samsung Motors, also known by the initialism RSM, is a South Korean car manufacturer headquartered in Busan where its single assembly site is also located, with additional facilities at Seoul (administration) and Giheung (research and development). It was first established as Samsung Motors in 1994 by the chaebol Samsung, with technical assistance from Nissan. The company started selling cars in 1998, just before South Korea was hit by the Asian financial crisis. In September 2000, it became a subsidiary of Renault and adopted its present name, although Samsung maintained a minority ownership. RSM markets a range of cars, including electric models and crossovers.




In the early 1990's, Samsung's Chairman Lee Kun-hee recognised the automotive industry as the culmination of several others. For the Samsung Group, this would allow to leverage resources and technologies from the entire group including Samsung Electrics and Samsung Electronics. He initially tried to take control of Kia, but competition from other bidders and legal restrictions made him to drop the idea. Kia was eventually purchased by Hyundai. SMI was established in 1994 (incorporated in 1995) and Daegu-based Samsung Commercial Vehicles in 1996. Shortly after SMI started its operations, the Asian financial crisis hit. Samsung divested itself of SMI as well as other non-core subsidiaries. SMI was put up for sale, with Daewoo Motors being one of the first interested companies, but, as the crisis deepened, Daewoo Motors itself was bought by GM. Hyundai Motors was also considered as a possible buyer, but corporate politics and strife between the Samsung Group and the Hyundai Group made this impossible. Negotiations with Renault started in December 1998, and in September 2000 the French automaker bought a 70% stake for US$560 million.



After the 2000 acquisition, Renault renamed Samsung Motors as Renault Samsung Motors (RSM). That year, the company's sales began to improve. Journalists attribute this to the success of the first car manufactured at Busan in taxi fleets (the SM5), which led to increased confidence of the model within the rest of their customer base. During the following years, the company introduced a new vehicle range, including the SM3 in 2002, the SM7 in 2004 and the crossover QM5 in 2007. Over time, RSM changed its products from a Nissan-based architecture to a Renault-based one. As part of the Renault group, Renault Samsung basically became an export-oriented manufacturer. Despite not being exported under their own brand, Renault Samsung-manufactured vehicles have over the time been rebadged as Renault or Nissan, and sold in markets such as Europe (QM5 and SM5), Russia, Ukraine, Mexico, Egypt, Central and South America, the Middle East (SM3 and SM5), China (SM7), Australia (QM5), or the United States and Canada (the Rogue).



Renault Samsung SM7:

The Renault Samsung SM7 is an executive car or full-size car (E-segment in Europe) produced by Korean manufacturer Renault Samsung Motors since 2004. Renault Samsung Motors started to work on the "EX" project, a new car based on the Nissan J31 platform which shared underpinnings with the Nissan Teana (in Asian markets) and the sixth-generation Nissan Maxima (in Europe, North America and Australia).

On 30 November 2004 the new car was revealed to the public as a high-end model. To distinguish it from the Teana various changes were made to the design with the aim of giving it a more solid image. A new generation SM7, based

on a stretched version of the third generation Renault Samsung SM5 (L43), was revealed and went on sale in South Korea since August 2011. A near-production concept version was presented in April.


Renault Master:

The Renault Master is an upper medium size van produced by the French manufacturer Renault since 1980, now in its third generation. It replaced the earlier Saviem SG3 light trucks. Opel has sold versions of the second and third series vans as the Opel Movano in Continental Europe and Vauxhall Movano in the United Kingdom. All three generations have been designed and manufactured by Renault, irrespective of the brand. The original Renault Master was launched in September 1980. Originally launched with the 2.5 L (2445 cc) Fiat-Sofim diesel engine, and
from 1984 also with the 2.1 L (2068 cc) power unit. In rare cases the Master was sold with a 2.0 L or 2.2 L Renault petrol engine.


Renault Samsung SM3:

The Renault Samsung SM3 is a compact car produced by the South Korean manufacturer Renault Samsung Motors since 2003. In 2006, the SM3 was launched as Nissan Almera Classic in Ukraine and Russia. The same year, the car was launched in Central and South America as Nissan Almera, (Except in Chile where it was sold as Samsung), replacing Sentra after this became a large family car. The SM3 was also sold as a Nissan Sunny in the Middle East and as the Renault Scala in Mexico, Egypt and Colombia.In July 2009, it was renamed as SM3 CE (Classic Edition).
The company announced production of the first generation SM3 would be continued while demand existed.



The car manufacturing plant is located at Busan in the Sinho Regional Industrial Site and began production in 1998. It covers 1,650,000 m2 and has the capacity to manufacture 300,000 cars per year. It can produce various models simultaneously in a single production line. The plant is divided into seven production shops (stamping, body, painting, bumper, assembly, al-casting and engine).


Research and development

The Renault Samsung Technical Centre located at Giheung near Seoul, is one of the largest research and development facilities of Renault after Guyancourt's Technocentre. It was established in 1997 as the Samsung Motors Technical Centre, being expanded in 2000 and adopting its current name. At first it was only involved in car engineering, but at the end of 2002 the RSM Design Centre was created within the facility to locally design various cars manufactured by the company. In early 2013 the design branch was renamed Renault Design Asia and was put in charge of supervising Renault's Asian design operations.




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