Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea gained a modest 3.5 percent in May compared to a year earlier, with Tesla’s Model Y becoming the best-selling import car after elbowing out Koreans’ long-term favorite Mercedes-Benz E Class models.
The number of newly registered foreign cars totaled 24,080 units in May, up 3.5 percent from the same month last year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) on Thursday.
The figure decreased 5.9 percent from a month ago because of a supply shortage of some brands, according to Lim Han-gyu, vice chairman of the association.
From January to May, sales of imported cars jumped 20.5 percent year over year to 121,566 units.
German brand Mercedes-Benz sold 7,690 cars in May, leading the foreign pack for five straight months.
Other German carmakers, BMW and Volkswagen, came second and third by selling 6,257 and 1,358 units, respectively. Volvo sold 1,264 units, Jeep 1,110, Mini 1,095, Lexus 1,007, Porsche 847 and Ford 655.
According to data released by local market tracker Carisyou Data Lab, American electric vehicle maker Tesla’s Model Y, newly released model in the country, became the best-selling foreign car in May by surpassing sales of Mercedes-Benz’ E Class models. The number of newly registered Model Y reached 3,461 units last month, surging from 76 units in the previous month.
Tesla is not included in the data by the KAIDA.
Tesla Model Y. [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]
According to the KAIDA, the best-selling model last month was still Mercedes-Benz E250 with sales reaching 1,257 units. It was also the most popular foreign car model in the previous two months.
BMW 520 ranked second with sales of 873 units and Volkswagen’s Jetta 1.4TSI came third with 759 units.
The latest data indicated green cars are becoming more popular in the import car market. By fuel type, gasoline-powered foreign cars sold 11,677 units, trailed by hybrid models with 6,695 units, diesel 3,105, plug-in hybrid 2,043 and full electric 560.
Sales of conventional cars, however, fell from last year, with gasoline cars down 12.2 percent and diesel 51.5 percent, but green car sales soared with plug-in hybrid up 389.9 percent, hybrid 127.8 percent and full electric 156.9 percent.
Foreign brands from Europe sold the most 19,249 units last month, accounting for 79.9 percent of the total imported car sales. They were followed by American brands that sold 2,796 units and took 11.6 percent and Japanese models 2,035 units or 8.5 percent.
Japanese car sales rebounded by 21.7 percent on year in May. Sales of U.S. cars declined 1.8 percent, while those of European vehicles rose 2.6 percent.
By Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]