SEOUL - European and other foreign automakers showcased their products at a special import-only auto show that opened here last week.
The Korea Import Motor Show, which opened on May 3 for a 10-day period, has attracted 17 foreign manufacturers, including all the principal bidders for bankrupt Daewoo Motor Co., and three Japanese makers. The show marks an official debut of sorts for the Japanese, who until last year had been barred by law from the Korean market.
Imports account for less than 1 percent of the Korean auto market. Analysts say the show could help ignite sales and settle once and for all the question of the social acceptability of driving an import. Driving an import here is widely perceived as unpatriotic, a sentiment created by years of government-orchestrated drives against the purchase of luxury imported goods.
Organizers of the import show say they expect 500,000 people to attend, which would top by about 40,000 the turnout at last year's official Seoul Motor Show. Importers boycotted that show, contending the Korean organizers discriminated against them by trying to charge higher fees and allocating inferior display space.