Jérôme Stoll (with earpiece) and Carlos Tavares

Jérôme Stoll (with earpiece) and Carlos Tavares

Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) is to receive fresh investment from its largest shareholder, Renault Group chief operating officer Carlos Tavares has stated.

Responding, no doubt, to recent media reports which questioned Renault's commitment to its South Korean offshoot, Tavares pledged strong support for RSM. Both he and the former head of RSM, Jérôme Stoll, travelled to Korea to make the announcement.

"We want to be a significant player in the highly competitive Korean market," Tavares stated during a news conference at the Westin Chosun in Seoul. "We want to use RSM as an export base in Asia for Renault."

The Renault COO added that he sees RSM playing an increasing role in the Group's goal of lifting its sales outside Europe to 50% from last year's 42%. RSM builds several vehicles for Renault (and Nissan), and plans to launch its first plug-in model, the Renault Fluence-based Samsung SM3 Z.E. within the next 12 months.

Disputing claims that Renault had been considering offloading its majority stake in RSM, Tavares underlined the division's importance to the Group, whilst acknowledging that Samsung sales are in trouble in the Korean market. He stated that RSM has a target of lifting its current 8.7% share of its home market to 10%.

As well as the minor assistance that the forthcoming SM3 Z.E. will give RSM in its quest to meet its goal, Tavares reportedly mentioned a new, small crossover for Samsung. Due to be launched in 2013, this is expected to be a version of Renault's Clio Captur (name to be confirmed), the Nissan Juke-based model that is due to be revealed at the Paris motor show in September.

Tavares further stated that Renault will support RSM to lift the average local content of its models to 80% from the present 70%, thus reducing the division's foreign currency exposure and overall costs.

Author: Glenn Brooks