Fiat and Ford fight Korea trade deal

* They claim trade deal is unfair * Will scrap 10% import duty on Korean cars * Kia, Hyundai and Chevrolet to benefit...

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What Car? Staff
13 October 2010

Fiat and Ford fight Korea trade deal

Fiat and Ford are fighting a new trade deal that would scrap the 10% import duty on Korean-built cars brought into Europe.

The proposed free-trade deal would save Korean manufacturers, such Kia and Hyundai, 1.4 billion in duty every year. Fiat and Ford say the deal is unfair, would flood the market with Korean-built cars and damage competition, reports Automotive News Europe (ANE).

Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne said the deal was not 'fair and equitable', while Ford chief financial officer Lewis Booth described it as one-sided.

The two manufacturers are now lobbying the European Parliament, which has to ratify the deal struck between the EU and South Korea.

Kia and Hyundai are obviously keen that the deal should progress, but so too is Chevrolet, which imports the Korean-built Aveo and Spark into Europe.

European car manufacturers' association ACEA isn't against the deal, which will come into force next July if approved, but says there needs to be provisions to guard against a sudden surge in imports.

It also wants other rules to be relaxed to make it easier for European car makers to sell in Korea where 95% of the market goes to cars built there.

Kia and Hyundai have ambitious growth plans and the reduction in costs would give their plans a boost. While it's unlikely the 10% saving would be passed on to customers in full, it would make Korean-built cars more competitive.

In the UK, Kia wants to grow sales of 55,000 last year to more than 100,000.