In July, four years after its release in 2016, Renault Samsung Motors introduced the SM6 facelift. There was a hot reaction at the start of the release, but as it was foreclosed due to the emergence of strong competing models, consumers expected the SM6 to transform itself through facial enhancement.
At the beginning of the launch of the new car, the reaction was quite good. This is because the powertrain has also changed and the S-Link has also been improved, which was described as inconvenient. Nevertheless, SM6 sales have been struggling with a record record for several months now. Why are sales so low despite a face lift? 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
The whole road went downhill
Renault Samsung SM6 is the most talkative and funny car among local mid-size sedans. At the start of its release in 2016, it enjoyed great popularity, which threatened the Sonata and K5. At launch, it was the first mid-size car in its class to be equipped with LED turn signals, nappa leather seats and R-MDPS for sporty sports performance.
However, the SM6 went all the way down, citing the controversial rear-wheel suspension torsion beam as the biggest weakness. Unlike other competing sedans that use multiple connections, the SM6 is a torsion bar suspension, and the second-row ride is so rigid that it’s not suitable for a family car at all. There have also been quality problems since its launch, and the price of used cars has also become one of the factors behind ERA’s reluctance to buy new cars.
Appeared within 4 years
Face lift model
Not innovative change
Trying to fix problems
After the Sonata and K5 underwent a complete change, the SM6 recently unveiled a facelift model that didn’t change much. Starting in 2020, the SM6 midsize sedan was completely abandoned on the market, so changing the mood required something unconventional to crush its midsize sedans.
However, Renault Samsung focused on improving the parts identified as deficiencies in the existing SM6, rather than continuing to improve full-fledged payments. The design changed only the small parts, and the controversial rear-wheel suspension retains its torque as before, but a modular valve system (MVS) was used and a heavy-duty hydraulic bushing was added for a comfortable ride.
Just over 500 units per month
Very low sales even with new calls
However, sales of the new SM6, which is thought to have been so redesigned, are not very good. No, it fell even worse than before the facelift. The SM6, which before facelift sold about 700 units per month, has now reached a level of just 500 units per month.
Since the model was released in November, total sales of Korean mid-size sedans show that the Kia K5 ranked first with 33,386 units, followed by Hyundai Sonata with 17,250 units, third with 2,348 units, Renault Samsung SM6 and Chevrolet Malibu. The last place was taken by 2246 units. SM6’s market share is 5%, in fact it can only be said that the new model was completely excluded from the market as soon as it was launched.
In November, the mid-size sedan market
Stayed at the bottom
At the moment, just looking at sales in November, the results have not changed much. In terms of market share, the K5 accounted for 60% and the Sonata for 31%, and both models accounted for 91% of the local mid-size sedan. Hyundai Kia Motors is therefore said to be the dominant market.
In November, even the Chevrolet Malibu was overtaken, leaving the SM6 at the bottom of its sales. What is the reason for low sales despite improving sales through face enhancement and improving existing gaps?
1. “For this money you can buy greatness”
A pricing issue that is constantly being pointed out
The first is the price that is considered to be most important among real consumers. The SM6 underwent a facelift and slightly increased the price compared to the previous model. The 1.3 petrol turbo model costs 24.5 million won for the cheapest finish and 3,265 million won for the upper finish, and the actual purchase price, including taxes, reaches 3,961 million for the full version from the lowest 26.61 million won.
For the 1.8 petrol turbo model, the cheapest trim is 3,073 million won and the upper trim is 34.2 million won, and the actual purchase price, including taxes, increases from 32.82 million won to 4,132 million full options. As a result, many consumers are left with no choice but to answer, “It’s too expensive for a mid-size sedan” and “If you put some options in the SM6, it’s better to buy a Granger.”
2. “Even the top finish
Lane maintenance assistance is optional “
There is a relative lack of specifications
The capabilities, which were relatively insufficient compared to other mid-size sedans, were also classified as fatal SM6 vulnerabilities. In particular, many consumers complain about the ADAS function.
Competing models Sonata and K5 come standard with lane maintenance assistance in the lower trim, which is the standard specification, but the SM6 must be accompanied by a driving assistance package costing 940,000 won, even in the high-end trim, which costs 3265 million won, for blind spot warning and lane bands. For maintenance assistance, a 360-inch camera is used.
If you choose the mid-range LE, you need to add some extra features to the base price of 28.96 million won so you can enjoy a similar level as other mid-size sedans. But then the structure is inevitable, because the won 30 million will be exceeded.
3. “Cannot help the torsion bar boundary”
The journey is still full of frustration
By using a modular valve system (MVS) and improving driving comfort with a high-capacity hydraulic bushing, actual car owners still complained about the SM6’s driving comfort. It is estimated that it is less stringent than the current model, but there are still a number of estimates that “the torsional limit could not be exceeded”.
In fact, even several customers who have tried a test drive to buy the SM6 pour out reviews, saying, “I was interested in how it was when I heard rumors, so I tried the test drive.
4. “It’s been half price for a one-year trip”
Heavy depreciation of used cars compared to other companies
Very high depreciation of used cars has also become an inevitable factor when choosing a Renault Samsung. Many consumers say, “I don’t want to buy a new Renault Samsung car because there are insignificant worn-out cars.”
In fact, it can be seen that sales of the SM6 2019-style SM6, which were only about a year old, are now traded at the beginning of 20 million won, which has fallen by 40% based on the price of the new car. It can be seen that sales for more than two years are high even at the end of the late 10 million. If almost half of the depreciation is achieved in one year after the release of the new car, there is nothing left for owners who want to sell used cars other than to smile.
5 “It is difficult to crush the air conditioner filter”
Almost the worst maintenance
In fact, maintenance is also considered by Renault Samsung car owners to be one of the inconvenient factors that is often mentioned. In the case of the recently released XM3, this has improved considerably, but so far Renault Samsung has had to remove the interior material and go through a complicated process, even though it had to go through one air conditioning filter, making it difficult for the general public to challenge.
Even among current mechanics, Renault Samsung is famous for its durability. Parts prices are also higher than Hyundai-Kia Motors, so paying high maintenance costs after the warranty period is also disadvantageous.
Consistent results with silent or negative answers
In addition, many consumers said, “The various things that were improved with Facelift are things that needed to be improved within one year of launching in 2016” and “How many times have Sonata and K5 changed?” They continued to comment that they could not change their minds.
In particular, the most controversial point of the rear wheel torsion bar suspension continued. One stakeholder said: “If multiple links are difficult to change due to vehicle structure, countermeasures had to be taken quickly, but this was the result of ignoring consumer demand for four years. Unfortunately, pending consumer responses, the SM6 classic is expected to continue. This was an Auto Post Issue Plus.