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Renault Samsung

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Title: Renault Samsung  
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Renault Samsung

Renault Samsung Motors Co., Ltd.
Native name 르노삼성자동차 주식회사
Type Subsidiary
Industry Automotive
Founded 1994[1]
Headquarters Busan, South Korea
Key people François Provost (Chairman)
Products Automobiles
Production output Decrease 153,891 (2012)[2][note 1]
Revenue Decrease 3.6552 trillion (2012)[3]
Net income Increase ₩-207.5 billion (2012)[3]
Owner(s) Renault (80.1% )
Samsung (19.9% )
Employees 5,746 (2011)
Parent Renault

Renault Samsung Motors (Korean: 르노삼성자동차, IPA: [ɾɯnoː samsʌŋ tɕadoŋtɕʰa]) is a South Korean automobile manufacturer headquartered in Busan. It was first established as Samsung Motors in 1994 by the chaebol Samsung and started selling cars in 1998, just before South Korea was hit by the Asian financial crisis. Since September 2000, it has been a subsidiary of Renault, although Samsung maintains a minority ownership.


In the early 1990s Samsung's Chairman Kun Hee Lee recognized the automobile industry as the culmination of several other industries. 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. The carmaker was eventually purchased by Hyundai.[4]

Lee decided to create a new carmaker, Samsung Motors (also known as SMI)[5] and a truck manufacturer, Samsung Commercial Vehicles Co., Ltd. (Hangul: 삼성상용차 주식회사; RR: Samseong Sangyongcha Jusikoesa), the latter through Samsung Heavy Industries with Nissan Diesel's support.[6] SMI was established in 1994 and Daegu-based Samsung Commercial Vehicles in 1996.[7][8] Unfortunately for Samsung shortly after SMI started its operations the Asian financial crisis hit.[5] Samsung divested itself of SMI as well as other non-core subsidiaries.[9] SMI was put up for sale, with Daewoo Motors being one of the first interested companies[4][10] but as the crisis deepened was itself bought by GM.[11] 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 $560 million.[12] In 2005, Renault increased its stake by acquiring an aditional 10% share from the company's creditors.[13][14]

Samsung Commercial Vehicles was kept by Samsung, but finally it filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2000.[8][9]

Coupled with his personal affection for cars, Lee's dream of building SMI as a global force started out with technical assistance from Nissan,[10] a company which at the time of SMI's early stages was in dire financial straits. SMI's affiliation with Nissan could have been one of the reasons for Renault buying a major share of the company, as Renault had become a major shareholder of Nissan by then. One of the very early planners for SMI has stated that technical affiliations for SMI were initially considered with Volkswagen, BMW or Honda.[15] However, its financial situation had forced Nissan to disclose its technology and engineering expertise to SMI. Also, Nissan has supplied SMI with its engines, one of them being Nissan's famed V6 engines the VQ23DE, currently replaced by the VQ35DE.

Since 1998 Renault Samsung Motors has been selling cars in Chile when the company introduced the SQ5 (the current SM5).[16] As of 2013, Chile is the only country that RSM sold some of its cars under the Renault Samsung Motors' marque and not as rebadged Renaults.[17]


Today, Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) maintains a good position within the Korean automotive market, with its SM5 vehicle continuing to hold its ground against competitors. Also, RSM is in the phase of changing its products from a Nissan based architecture to a Renault based one. For example, the latest SM3 shares its architecture with the Renault Fluence, its predecessor was based on the Nissan Sylphy. Also, according to the development trend of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, gasoline engines will be continued to be provided by Nissan, whereas diesel engines will be provided by Renault. In addition, QM5 (a cross over vehicle; code name: H45) was co-developed with Nissan (who is also using the QM5 as the basis for its next Xtrail, code name P32M). It is being sold in Korea, Europe, China, Mexico and South America, and more new vehicles are planned in the future. This will increase the current company production capacity of 125,000~130,000 units to around 250,000, as much of the increased production will target BRICs countries such as China, Russia, and also parts of Europe.

As Renault does not have any R&D centers and has only a few factories in Asia, RSM will spearhead the Renault's expansion efforts into the rapidly developing Asian market. Also, Renault is continuing the use of 'Samsung' name until 2020[18] under a license agreement with the Samsung group.

Decline in sales

The pressure from Hyundai and Kia, dominant automakers in the Korean market, increased during the 2010s, pushing RSM sales down by 27% in 2011. In the first half of 2012, they fell 41%. In August 2012, a personnel reduction of about 80% of employees was presented by the management.[19] Finally, Renault reduced its Busan personnel by 15% (about 800 employees). With the aim of reviving the company, it will invest (together with Nissan) US$160 million to make Nissan cars for export in order to improve the production output and also presented revised versions of the SM3 and the SM5.[20][21] During 2013 it will introduce a new compact crossover, the QM3, based on the Captur.[22]



The car manufacturing plant is located at Busan in the Sinho Regional Industrial Site and begun production in 1998.[23] It covers 1,650,000 m2[24] and has capacity to manufacture 300,000 cars per year. It can produce various models simultaneously in a single production line.[25]

The plant is divided into seven production shops (stamping, body, painting, bumper, assembly, al-casting and engine).[24]

Research and development

The Renault Samsung Technical Center (Hangul: 르노삼성 중앙연구소; RR: Reuno Samseong Jungang Yeonguso) is located at Giheung near Seoul, and is one of the largest research and development facilities of Renault after Guyancourt's Technocentre.[25] It was established in 1997 as the Samsung Motors Technical Center,[26] being expanded in 2000 and adopting its current name.[26][27] At first it was only involved with car engineering, but at the end of 2002 was created the RSM Design Center (Hangul: 르노삼성자 디자인센터; RR: Reuno Samseongja Dijain Senteo) within the facility to design locally the cars manufactured by the company.[26][28] In early 2013 the design branch was renamed Renault Design Asia (Hangul: 르노 디자인 아시아; RR: Reuno Dijain Asia) and it was put in charge of supervising the Renault's Asian design operations.[29]


The RSM's head offices are located at Gasan-dong, Seoul.[30] There also are administrative offices in Busan.[25]



Renault Samsung Motors has two logos, the corporate logo and the marque logo. The first is for corporate communications and is an adaptation of the Samsung Group's logo.[31][32] The second is the "storm's eye" logo which is used as marque's badge and in advertising. Its shape symbolises the meeting between clients and automobiles, while its symmetry reflects stability and confidence.[33]


The advertising slogan of Renault Samsung Motors is Discover the Difference (Hangul: 디스커버 더 디퍼런스; RR: Diseukeobeo Deo Dipeoreonseu)[34][35] and was introduced in 2009. According to the company, it makes reference to the distinct quality of its products.[35]

Car nomenclature

The company includes in its vehicles' designations numbers related to their sizes. Currently those numbers are 3, meaning compact or small vehicle, 5, mid-size vehicle, and 7, large vehicle.[36] The designations also include the letters S and M, which stands for Samsung Motors[36] and Samsung Motor Sedan.[37] However, the sport utility vehicles replace the SM combination by QM (Quest Motoring).[38]

Solar energy project

In March 2013, Renault Samsung Motors completed the installation of solar panels in the parking lots, rooftops and surrounding land of its Busan facility to create a 20-MW solar plant, one of the largest in the world. The project was carried out through a joint venture, Busan Shinho Solar Power SPC (Hangul: 부산신호태양광 특수목적법인; RR: Busan Sinho Taeyang-gwang Teugsumogjeogbeob-in), formed by RSM, Korea East-West Power and KC Cottrell, which also manages the plant. It provides energy to the RSM operations and nearby houses.[39][40]


Renault Samsung Motors is majority owned by Renault with a 80.1% share. Samsung Card has a 19.9% share of the company.

Model lineup


Model 1998[41] 1999[42] 2000[43] 2001[44] 2002[44][45] 2003[44][46] 2004[47] 2005[47] 2006[48] 2007[49] 2008[49] 2009[50] 2010[50] 2011[51] 2012[51]
Renault Samsung SM3 16,016 29,878 19,411 30,091 71,817 29,448 21,362 48,340 64,779 42,910 22,793
Renault Samsung SM5 41,593 6,362 26,862 70,788 100,777 80,371 55,000 63,374 71,675 73,346 55,932 61,319 78,107 50,408 32,699
Renault Samsung SM7 6,295 25,089 17,807 14,233 15,358 18,319 13,550 17,199 5,263
Renault Samsung QM5 2,518 11,832 8,487 5,481 7,618 4,936
Total 41,593 6,362 26,862 70,788 117,085 111,431 80,906 118,554 161,299 119,545 104,484 136,465 161,917 118,135 65,691
‡ Only South Korean market.
† Samsung SQ5/SM5.
≠ For these years the models' number of sales only include the South Korean domestic market. The total includes both the domestic and the international market.

See also

Companies portal



External links

  • Renault Samsung Motors Homepage (Korean)
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