The Korea Times
Hyundai Equus, Maybach to carry Moon
The public has been interested in President Moon Jae-in’s choice of state vehicles since he formally took office last week.
As Moon began his term immediately without a presidential transition period, he is expected to use vehicles the President Security Service provides. However, the vehicles can be changed based on his choice.
On his first day in office, May 10, Moon reportedly rode in an armored Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach Guard when he visited the Seoul National Cemetery in the morning.
After Moon wound up his schedule at the Seoul National Cemetery, he used a Hyundai Motor Equus Stretch Edition, a long-body version featuring a longer wheelbase and several upgrades, both in styling and performance, when he then visited the National Assembly to take the oath of office.
Industry insiders say these two models are more likely to be used as state vehicles during his ongoing term. But it cannot be ruled out that Moon would ride the Ssangyong Chairman W limousine because he reportedly drove the 2001 Ssangyong Rexton sport utility vehicle when he was running for office.
The Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach Guard, the special-protection version of the Mercedes-Maybach, is the first vehicle to be certified with the highest ballistic protection level VR10 for civilian vehicles. It offers passengers a highly effective protected space which not only includes ballistic protection but also comprehensive protection against explosive devices such as landmines equivalent up to 15 kilograms of TNT.
The vehicle has also met all the personal protection requirements of the relevant authorities in the U.S. and is comprehensively certified in accordance with resistance class ERV2010.
It mounts a 6.0-liter V12 gasoline turbo-charged engine that produces a maximum of 530 horsepower with 84.6 kg.m of torque.
Because of the vehicle’s protection structure inside the body frame, the Mercedes-Benz S600 Maybach Guard weighs about 5.1 tons, twice as heavy as a common pickup truck. Its maximum speed is 160 kilome- ters per hour while it can travel up to 100 kilometers per hour with a flat tire.
The Equus Stretch Edition is an extended-wheelbase version of the Equus full-sized sedan. It measures 546 centimeters in length, longer than competing auto brands’ flagship sedans. It is 149.5 centimeters in height, also the tallest. Former President Park Geun-hye rode the same model during her term.
Officials of foreign and domestic carmakers said they haven’t heard from Cheong Wa Dae yet about Moon’s choice in vehicles.
“We haven’t heard anything from the VIP yet,” said a Hyundai Motor official. “We will accommodate whatever their vehicle needs are.”
Korea’s former presidents have used luxury sedans or limousine models of foreign auto brands.
The nation’s first president Syngman Rhee used a Cadillac Fleetwood 60 sedan. It was the first armored sedan ever imported to Korea.
Produced by General Motors (GM) in 1956, the Cadillac Fleetwood 60 mounted a 6.0-liter V8 engine that produced 230 horsepower, and was also used by the next President Yun Po-sun.
Former President Park Chung-hee rode in a Cadillac Fleetwood 75 sedan that GM produced in 1968. It mounted a 7.0-liter V8 engine that produced a maximum of 360 horsepower.
He also used a Cadillac Sedan de Ville in his 1972 inauguration, but then switched to a Fleetwood 75.
Army general-turned-President Chun Doo-hwan used a 1981 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine with a 6.0-liter engine after he took office through a military coup.
He used the vehicle for seven years, and handed it over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry used the limousine when state guests visited the country.
Chun’s successor Roh Tae-woo rode in a Lincoln Continental limousine, an earlier of which was used by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s and 1940s. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also rode in Lincoln Continental limousines during their terms.
Former President Kim Young-sam, who took power in 1993, used both a Cadillac Fleetwood limousine and Lincoln Continental limousine while his successors, Kim Dae-jung and Lee Myung-bak, rode in a Mercedes-Benz S600 limousine.
Former President Roh Moo-hyun used a BMW 760Li Security Edition where ousted former President Park rode in a Hyundai Motor Equus Stretch Edition.
This was the first time for a Korean president to use a Korean vehicle model as a state vehicle.