Import car brands continue to do poorly this year in Korea amid protracted economic slump and increased choices in local marques.
According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) on Wednesday, a total of 19,548 units of foreign brand cars were newly registered in Korea in May, down 16.7 percent on year but up 7.3 percent on month.
From January to May, imported car sales in the market contracted 23 percent from the same period a year ago to 89,928 units.
By brand, Mercedes-Benz ranked as the top selling foreign name with sales of 6,092 units last month, accounting for 31.1 percent in the imported car market in Korea. BMW trailed with sales of 3,383 units, Lexus 1,431, Toyota 1,269, Honda 1,210 and Mini 1,008.
Volvo sold 932 units of vehicles in the country last month, followed by Ford 898, Jeep 770, Land Rover 443, Nissan 299, Peugeot 267, Porsche 210, Infiniti 206, Jaguar 156, Cadillac 134, Maserati 93, Citroen 50, Rolls Royce 12, Bentley 7 and Lamborghini 5. Audi posted zero sales in the market as it failed to ship any car due to a delay in the regulatory certification process for the newly introduced emission standards in Europe.
Foreign brands accounted for 14.9 percent in the local auto market in May. For the first five months, they took up 14.7 percent, according to the data.
The best-selling model was Mercedes-Benz’s E300 that sold 1,487 units last month. It was followed by Benz E300 4MATIC with 877 units newly registered, Lexus ES300h with 693 units and Volkswagen’s Arteon 2.0 TDI 673.
Imported cars with engine displacement of 2,000 cubic centimeters (cc) or less accounted for the lion’s share of 13,523 units in the market, followed by 4,551 units with displacement of 2,000cc to 3,000 cc at 23.3 percent, 3,000cc to 4,000cc 5.5 percent, 4,000cc or more 1.1 percent and others including electric vehicles 1.0 percent.
By fuel type, gasoline-powered foreign brand cars took up 10,026 units or 51.3 percent, diesel models 6,019 units or 30.8 percent, hybrid 16.9 percent and electricity 1.0 percent.
By Lee Jong-hyuk and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]