Korea's Samsung Sets Tough Goals with Auto-Manufacturing Program
Eisenstein, Paul A., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
SEOUL - The Samsung Motors Inc. unit of Korean Samsung Group intends to invest $13 billion over the next 14 years to start up the country's newest carmaking operations.
Given government approval to enter the tightly controlled automotive market only last year, Samsung Motors won't introduce its first car until 1998. But by 2010, the fledgling manufacturer intends to become one of the world's 10 largest automakers - a goal causing deep concern among Samsung's Korean competitors, as well as future rivals abroad.
But some industry analysts warn Samsung's plans face a series of obstacles, including mounting trade frictions and global automotive overcapacity.
Samsung intends to invest its first $2.5 billion by 1998 to set up an assembly plant in Shinho, Korea, develop a supply network and establish dealer outlets in Korea and "other markets," according to a corporate statement. The United States is believed to be targeted as a critical market in Samsung's long-term plans.
"Although Samsung has a licensing agreement for Nissan automobile technology, the company plans to develop its own technology," the statement said, noting Samsung has opened a design office in Los Angeles, and plans to add technology centers in both Korea and Japan. …