Wednesday, August 15, 2012

France Goes Paris on Korean Car Imports

The French car industry, known for its quirkily-designed, underspecified and poorly-manufactured vehicles - which would have long-since been confined to history if it weren't for massive amounts of state subsidies by a succession of closet-communist-leaning governments - is believed to be behind an extraordinary attack on the Korean car industry which may see it have to ask permission every time a vehicle is imported.

The decision to adopt a Parisian attitude towards foreigners and their cars comes after it was revealed that Renault - which bought Korea's Samsuit Motors in 2000 - had the worst sales of Korea's give carmakers last month, selling a mere 4,008 units, falling behind Ssangyong, a brand even many Koreans barely recognize. However, 4,000 Renault Samsuit employees said they were very happy with their new vehicles, and according to the company's uncited Wikipedia page Renault Samsuit Motors "maintains a good position within the Korean automotive market".

It is believed Renault Samsuit may be struggling to sell vehicles in Korea because of memories of the 'French Foreign Language Teacher Scandal' of 1984, and also due to France's continuing dubious claims over the Dokdo Islands - which it calls the 'Liancourt Rocks'.

Problems began for Renault Samsuit when both Kia and Hyundai decided to hire designers for their cars for the first time in 2010. Protectionism had long forced Koreans to buy only Korean manufacturers' cars due to the massive tariffs on foreign imports, a policy France has long sought to emulate, but the opening up of the Korean market to foreign competition forced most of Korea's car manufacturers to move away from their 1980s-inspired designs and even to offer more colors than silver, white, white, silver and black. The designs proved so successful that before long Korean cars were not just being driven by laughing motor journalists on foreign TV programs, but also by real people in these foreign countries.

The move left Renault Samsuit struggling at the time. It's flagship model, the S&M5, is based on a Nissan Cefiro design which itself is so old some people claim to have seen it at Pearl Harbor. But the company has now designed a new generation of vehicles such as the Kangoo iCar Z.E., which features translucent plastic windows as part of a bright white casing. However, Apple says the design of the vehicle is a clear copy of its iMac G3 computer and it has threatened to sue Samsuit, which may see the iCar banned from sale in several countries.

Renault Samsuit's iCar Z.E. - Apple iMac G3 copy?

Korean car imports have increased massively in Europe since the signing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Korea and the EU last year, because naturally all Europeans want to drive them and become part of the Korean Wave. But the French government has said that trade is not free if it costs French jobs, and therefore the Korean car manufacturers are in breach of the free trade agreement.

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The French foreign language teacher scandal of 1984

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