Published : 2013-10-09 20:13
Updated : 2013-10-09 20:13
The sales disparity among 23 foreign carmakers in Korea has deepened while the overall import car industry has continued to expand its presence over the past few years.
Though import car sales in the local market increased by 21.3 percent in the past nine months on-year, Toyota Motor Corp. reported a 24.8 percent drop over the corresponding period.
Toyota Motor CEO Akio Toyoda had vowed to become the champion of sales among foreign automakers in Korea by 2014. The company, however, has yet to be successful in waging an uphill sales battle against major German brands.
While BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi have posted steady sales in the premium luxury segment, Volkswagen far surpasses Toyota in sales of mid-priced sedans and sport utility vehicles.
Volkswagen saw its sales come to 18,511 units between January and September, up 46.7 percent from 12,616 units for the same period last year.
Further, in September, Volkswagen topped the list in the monthly sales out of the 23 import brands.
The sales gap is also seen among U.S. brands. While Ford Motor recorded growth of 42.1 percent, Cadillac and Chrysler posted a decline of 42.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
U.S. automakers are still posting lackluster sales in Korea overall despite the free trade agreement between the two countries that took effect two years ago.
A spokeswoman for Chrysler Korea downplayed the situation, saying that “the FTA has paved the way for us to expand the vehicle model line-up.” She expected that the company would increase its market share on a gradual basis.
Infiniti and Volvo reported a 9.2 percent and 2.1 percent drop, respectively. Mitsubishi Motors suspended its Korean sales amid sagging performance.
In contrast, Land Rover and Jaguar posted 67.4 percent and 48.4 percent year-on-year growth, respectively.
In September, a total of 12,668 units of foreign-brand cars were sold, compared with 12,123 vehicles sold a year ago, according to industry data. In the meantime, domestic sales by five automakers in South Korea, including Hyundai Motor Co., reached 101,021 units last month, down 12.8 percent from 115,811 units a year ago.