Amid the fast-growing market share of imported car in Korea, 8 out of 10 new vehicles registered in Gangnam, an affluent area in southern Seoul, are foreign cars, a local media outlet reported on Wednesday.
South Korea saw the market share of imported cars reach 14.62 percent in January, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association reported on Tuesday.
A total of 14,849 foreign-made cars were sold in the one-month period, compared with 12,345 units a year earlier, KAIDA said.
“With Ferarri, Maserati and imported cars through other sources combined, the actual market share will exceed 15 percent,” Yoon Dae-sung, executive director of the association, was quoted as saying.
The rising demand for foreign brands is particularly noticeable in Gangnam. Of the 200 vehicles registered every day in Gangnam, some 170 cars are foreign-made, according to an official from the district office.
German-made cars are taking the lead in Korea’s foreign cars boom. Koreans’ long-standing preference for German cars, coupled with the car makers’ efforts to improve after sales service and diversify the product lineup, has enabled German brands to make considerable headway in Korea, market watchers said.
According to the figures released by KAIDA, German luxury brands BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen ranked in the top three in terms of cars sold, followed by Audi and Ford, accounting for 75 percent of total sales of imported cars.
Japanese carmakers Toyota and Nissan came in sixth and seventh, respectively. Their market share dropped below 10 percent for the first time in January.
“Foreign brands are using comprehensive marketing strategies to reach out to Korean consumers, while Korean brands’ reputations are suffering from quality problems,” Han Jang-hyun, a professor at Daeduk College, told the local media outlet.
He added that creating a valuable brand is the key to capturing the hearts of Korean consumers.
By Ock Hyun-ju, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)