Park Dong-hoon, vice president of Renault Samsung Motors (RSM), has been promoted as the new head of the automaker.
According to the nations fourth-largest car maker, the 64-year-old Park, who is in
currently charge of sales, is replacing CEO Francois Provost on April 1 as part of the
companys efforts to improve its status in the local market, where the company has been
struggling in the past few years.
Park will be the first Korean CEO of RSM since it was established 16 years ago. Wrapping up his work in Korea, which lasted four years and seven months, the French CEO is
going to lead Renault China.
Industry insiders say Provost has successfully carried out the automakers revival plans
since he was named CEO in September 2011, when the company was in the midst of
financial hardship during the global financial crisis.
Provost was also successful in expanding the production capacity of the automakers
Busan plant, as the facility started manufacturing 80,000 units of the Nissan Rogue SUV
in 2014 and increased the amount to 110,000 units last year.
“The reshuffle was carried out based on Renault’s moves to expand its business in
China,” the automaker said in a statement. The Renault recently started operating
a plant in Wuhan and launched the Kadjar SUV in China.
Park is expected to boost RSM’s sales in the Korean market, where the automaker has
failed to see a breakthrough in recent years. RSM only sold 2,101 cars here in January,
but the figure increased by 102.9 percent last month to 4,263. However, year-on-year
sales dropped by 18 percent, mainly due to aging models including the SM5.
One good development for the company is that the new SM6 sedan is getting the
attention of local consumers. The automaker said it already received 11,000 preorders
for the mid-sized sedan in just a month. The company started selling the car this
month and currently aims to sell more than 20,000 units in next two months.
The SM6 was developed by RSM’s mother company, Renault, and is being sold as the
Talisman abroad. Park, who spearheaded the effort to bring the new model to Korea,
had led similar projects in the past when working for foreign automakers. RSM was the
only local automaker that failed to launch a new car last year, putting the company
behind of the nation’s smallest automaker Ssangyong Motor in terms of sales.
Ssangyong had a particularly good year with the new Tivoli SUV.
Park has accumulated experience in the imported car market. He was a vice president of Gojin Motors Import, a dealer of Volkswagen and Audi cars, in 2001, and he was the
first CEO of Volkswagen Korea when it was established in 2005. He later became the
head of the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association in 2008 and joined
RSM as the sales chief in September 2013.
According to industry sources, Park will not focus on developing new cars in Korea.
Instead, he will bring in models that are already sold overseas, such as the minicar Clio
and minivan Espace. He has already done similar jobs, such as when he brought in the
compact SUV QM3, which is manufactured in Spain.
“I will bring more Renault cars,” the new CEO said in an interview with the JoongAng
Ilbo. “It is hard to compete in the local market with only RSM’s six models. We will
strengthen the identity of Renault to improve our competitiveness.”