SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — Toyota Motors Corp. said Thursday it will launch four new models in South Korea in the first half of the year to jump-start its lackluster sales amid trade tensions between Seoul and Tokyo.
Toyota Motors plans to introduce the gasoline-powered GR Supra sports car on Jan. 21, the Camry’s sports version XSE gasoline model in February and the all-wheel drive Prius and Prius C Crossover gasoline hybrid models in March, the company said in a statement.
For the whole of 2019, Toyota sold 10,611 vehicles in South Korea, down 37 percent from 16,774 units a year earlier as local campaigns against Japanese products affected its sales, it said.
Japanese brands — Toyota, its luxury Lexus brand, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and its premium Infiniti brand. — saw their overall sales drop 19 percent to 36,661 cars in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy last year from 45,253 a year ago.
In July, Japan tightened regulations on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials critical for the production of semiconductors and displays.
In August, Japan officially removed South Korea from its list of countries given preferential treatment in trade procedures.
The Japanese moves are widely seen as retaliation against court rulings here that ordered Japanese firms to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.