GM Korea has insisted on keeping the prices of their cars on par with those of other competing models even though GM models were not as popular as others, which made consumers confused about the company's intention. But the company changed its pricing policy after launching the mid-size sedan Malibu last year. At the time, GM Korea set its price lower by 1 million won from the previous model. For example, the cheapest trim LS model was sold at 23.1 million won, 2-3 million won lower than widely expected.
Introduced in June last year, the Malibu is the best-selling car in the mid-size gasoline car segment. The gasoline-engine Malibu was sold 36,185 last year, outcompeting the gasoline Hyundai Sonata that was sold 31,478. In January this year, it was sold 3,564 cars, up 581.5 percent from the same month last year. The main success factor was no doubt the excellent value for the money.
Consumers are again puzzled as GM Korea unveiled the new compact Cruze last month. The new Cruze is a whole new model after the Lacetti Premier debuted back in the latter half of 2008. The Cruze gets a lot of attention due to its larger interior space and better performance. Everything is well received except its price, which starts from 18.9 million won, which is about 4 million won more expensive than the same-class Hyundai Avante (14.1 million won). That's why some of the potential customers complained that GM Korea's pricing policy went back to the pre-Malibu era.
GM Korea explained that it is true that the Avante may appeal to price-conscious car buyers but the Cruze is much better in driving performance that can precisely meet customer expectations. It remains to be seen whether the new Cruze will rise high in the compact car rankings by overcoming the price resistance.