Renault Samsung Motors said on Monday it had taken over 40,000 orders for its new, locally developed SM5 sedan.

The automaker, an 80.1%-owned subsidiary of Renault, launched the redesigned SM5 sedan in Korea on 18 January, 2010. The car was designed in Seoul (early Renault Samsungs were largely adapted Nissan designs) and is manufactured at the firm’s Busan plant. The average daily rate is 700 sales, and a record 2,012 orders were taken during one particular day. The latest SM5 has already reached 66% of the volume achieved by its predecessor for all of 2009, which itself was a record year for the brand.

The car was launched with a Renault-Nissan alliance two-litre petrol engine and Xtronic automatic transmission. A petrol V6 and (Renault designed) dCi diesel engines will be offered later.

Standard equipment includes a dual-mode air ioniser with fragrance diffuser (a first in Korea), three-mode automatic climate control (a first for the segment in the country), a massaging driver’s seat, Bose premium audio, a hands-free card, and adaptive, directional bi-Xenon headlamps.

Since launch in Korea in 1998, the SM5 has achieved sales of over 500,000 units and, following styling changes in 2003 and 2008, was introduced in the Middle East and Mexico with Renault badging.

The latest SM5 marked a further step towards Renault Samsung Motors’ independent product development. Following on initial work by Renault, the technical centre in Giheung, close to the design centre in Seoul, took over the project. Development teams at Renault Samsung Motors took their lead from the know-how at Renault and Nissan and exchanges between the automakers began at an even earlier stage than was the case for the new SM3.