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‘New car effect‘ lifts domestic car sales in March

Domestic car sales by the five Korean carmakers soared 17 percent to 148,888 units in March from the same period last year, bolstered by the “new car effect” and the extension of tax cut benefits on car purchases by June, data compiled by each company said.

But the five companies with production lines here -- Hyundai, Kia, General Motors Korea, Renault Samsung and Ssangyong Motor – saw their overseas sales drop 4.3 percent on-year last month, the data showed. 

When it comes to domestic sales, the three smaller automakers, in particular, performed better than Hyundai and Kia, boosted by sales of their new cars.

GM Korea’s Chevrolet new Spark
GM Korea’s Chevrolet new Spark

GM Korea registered 3.4 percent growth in total sales, led by a surge in domestic sales of its revamped minicar Spark.

Sales of the new Spark, launched in August, rose 87.7 percent to 9,175 vehicles in March from the same month last year, cementing its No. 1 position in the local minicar segment.

“The new Spark has appealed to local customers with the best-in-class safety and convenience features in addition to a refined design and unique styling,” the company said in a statement.

Another eye-catching performer on home turf last month was Renault Samsung. The automaker sold 6,751 units of its new mid-size SM6, leading its 70.4 percent spike in its total domestic sales.

Sales of the Tivoli, the popular compact SUV from Ssangyong Motor, jumped 69.7 percent in the local market, with help of the launch of the extended Tivoli Air, the data showed.

In Hyundai Motor Group, Kia Motors enjoyed the benefit form a new car effect last month. Its domestic sales rose 19.4 percent from a year earlier, bolstered by increased sales of its redesigned mid-size sedan K7.

By Seo Jee-yeon (