A trend in recent years is that electronics giants and tech companies are also working on cars. Google subsidiary Waymo is honing technology for self-driving cars, while Sony has single-handedly developed two models. Apple is also reportedly working on a car behind the scenes.
However, Samsung was there so early that its model could go straight to the museum. This is the story of the forgotten Samsung SSC-1.
One of the reasons that all kinds of companies are now focusing on cars is that, in theory, the rise of the all-electric powertrain makes them a lot easier to develop and produce.
So it could happen that Sony already casually presented its second study model earlier this year : the Vision-S 02.
However, Samsung already made its attempt at building a car in the 1990s. At that time, South Korea was one of the so-called Asian tigers, or a country that had experienced tumultuous economic and industrial development in the 1980s and early 1990s.
What better way to put your earnings in the spotlight than with a cool sports car? At least that was the thought of the then Samsung CEO Lee Kun-hee. The first achievement of Samsung Motors, which was founded in 1994, was the Samsung Sports Car-1, SSC-1 for short.
Crisis throws sand in the engine
The Korean quality of the SSC-1 was not that bad though. The developers had eagerly rummaged through Nissan’s warehouses for parts. The engine also came from the Japanese brand.
Insiders suspect that the platform of the car was secretly that of the French Venturi Atlantique, although that has never been officially confirmed.
While some show cars, study models or prototypes are just for show, the SSC-1 was fully roadworthy on the show floor of the Seoul Motor Show in 1997.
However, that was also the year of the Asian currency crisis, which also hit the South Korean car industry. Among other things, this led to Hyundai and Kia merging and Daewoo came into the hands of the American General Motors.
For Samsung Motors, this meant that the party as an independent manufacturer came to an end after four years and negotiations with Renault started. In 2000, the French brand took a majority stake and Renault Samsung Motors was born. The SSC-1 was already mothballed for a long time then.
Success is not guaranteed
Even today, developing a car and actually producing it in a profitable way and getting it on the market is not a foregone conclusion.
For example, inventor James Dyson, known for the pioneering vacuum cleaners, bit his teeth on an electric SUV.
The lack of financial strength killed the project, according to Dyson. BMW and Mercedes-Benz, for example, still make a lot of profit on expensive fuel models and can therefore accept a possible loss on electric cars.
Everyone has their strengths
This may also explain why Sony announced earlier this month that it wanted to partner with Honda for the development and production of electric cars. Sony will focus on the software side, while Honda will focus on developing and building the car.
The first copies should come off the line at Honda in 2025.
Because the Sony Vision-S 01 and Vision-S 02 are apparently already in an advanced state of development, it is not inconceivable that the models to be built by Honda will show similarities with the Sony cars presented.
The Sony Vision-S 01 has already been extensively tested in Europe in 2021, both on test tracks and on public roads.
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