The Renault-Nissan Alliance also had the Samsung brand under its roof, and the Korean automaker was able to build and sell a badge-engineered version of the Nissan Almera on its home market.
Based on the new platform developed by Renault and Nissan, the SM 3 was a fresh addition to the Korean market, where it had to face stiff competition from Hyundai, Kia, and Daewoo. Unlike its Almera sibling, the SM 3 was sold only as a four-door sedan.
The rounded, organic shapes of the SM3 mainly belonged to the bio-design era, which was already gone in other countries. Yet, the customers were not bothered by that. The car's angled headlights that flanked a one-slat grille didn't look very aggressive. Samsung didn't need that; it needed a vehicle suitable for a family. The car's profile revealed a curved window line adorned with black trims on the rear doors. In addition, the automaker offered an option for a blackened B-pillar. Finally, at the back, the corner-mounted taillights flanked the wide trunk opening.
Inside, the curved lines dominated the dashboard, with an instrument panel dominated by the center-mounted speedometer. That was flanked by a tachometer on the left and the fuel and water-temperature gauges on the right. Samsung installed bucket seats designed mostly for comfort and provided little bolstering. Its back seats featured a split-folding seatback and provided enough elbow and hip room but limited legroom for adult passengers.
Underneath the hood, the automaker installed a choice of two engines developed by Nissan. These were paired with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual that sent the power to the front wheels.