Import car sales slow in Korea on chip shortage, Benz E-class top seller

2021.09.03 13:12:48 | 2021.09.03 13:13:16

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Sales of imported cars in South Korea contracted in August from the previous month and grew just 1 percent on year as shipments were disrupted by chip shortage.

According to data released by the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) on Friday, the number of newly registered foreign cars totaled 22,116 units in August, up 1.0 percent from the same month last year.

The figure decreased 9.3 percent from a month ago as the extended chip shortage has crimped production at some brands, according to Lim Han-gyu, vice chairman of the association.

From January to August, sales of imported cars gained 14.3 percent on year to 194,262 units.

German brand Mercedes-Benz sold 6,734 units, up 11.7 percent on year and leading the foreign pack for eight straight months. BMW came second after delivering 5,214 units, followed by Audi with 1,341 units, Volkswagen with 1,305 units, Volvo with 1,152 units, Mini with 969 units and Chevrolet with 946 units.

According to data released by local market tracker Carisyou Data Lab, American electric vehicle maker Tesla sold 2,431 units, ranking third among the imported brands. Tesla is not included in the data by the KAIDA.

According to the KAIDA, the best-selling model last month was Mercedes-Benz’s E-class with sales totaling 3,132 units. Volkswagen’s Tiguan became the second best-selling model after 1,014 units were sold, followed by BMW 5 series with 960 units.

By trim, Mercedes-Benz’s E250 sold the most 1,586 units, Volkswagen’s Tiguan 2.0 TDI 820 units, Chevrolet Colorado 661 units, and Lexus ES300h 573 units.

European brands sold the most 18,117 units, taking up 81.9 percent in the entire Korean import car market. U.S. brands came second with 2,081 units (9.4 percent), and Japanese brands with 1,918 units (8.7 percent). Monthly sales of Japanese and U.S. makers jumped 35.7 percent and 34.8 percent on year, respectively.

Gasoline-fueled cars were sold 11,359 units, accounting for 51.4 percent of all sales, hybrid vehicles 6,353 units with a 28.7 percent share, diesel-fueled cars 2,950 units with a 13.3 percent share, plug-in hybrid vehicles 1,076 units with a 4.9 percent and electric vehicles 378 units with a 1.7 percent share.

Hybrids and plug-in hybrids soared 209.6 percent and 83.9 percent on year, respectively, while diesel-fueled car sales sank 62.2 percent.

By Lee Soo-min

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