The Korea Herald


Imported truck sales hit record 75.8% jump last year

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)

Published : Feb. 5, 2017 - 14:08

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Imported trucks celebrated a record year last year, seeing a 75.8 percent spike in sales from 2015, according the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Non-domestic truck sales stood a 7,726 units in 2016 compared to the previous year’s 4,396 units, KAMA’s data showed Sunday.

Following the enactment of the Korea-EU and Korea-US free trade agreements in 2011 and 2012, respectively, tariffs on imported vehicles have been removed, sparking an increase in competition and demand in the domestic truck market. 

Since the establishment of the FTAs, the number of non-domestic truck sales have steadily increased, with the exception of 2013 when the number of units dipped by 290 from the previous year. 

The Volvo Truck FH 2 (Volvo Truck Korea) The Volvo Truck FH 2 (Volvo Truck Korea)

In 2009, domestic sales of imported trucks hovered around 2,000 units for five years until finally breaking the 3,000 unit mark for the first time in 2014. 

Volvo Truck is currently Korea’s the No. 1 seller of imported trucks, accounting for roughly a third of the market, selling approximately 2,600 units last year.

In 2014, US manufacturing company Navistar began importing its international ProStar trucks to Korea, boosting the number of domestic truck imports.

However, despite the significant spike in truck imports compared to last year, Volkswagen Group’s truck imports fell 7 percent year-on-year in 2016.
Experts are attributing the decline to the German automaker’s ongoing disputes with its “dieselgate” scandal, which violated the Clean Air Act by faking its vehicles’ emissions output. 

In spite of soaring truck imports, automotive industry experts have also pointed out that the number of truck service and maintenance stations in Korea is severely lacking, with the exception of Volvo Truck Korea, which may hinder exponential future import growth.

While Volvo currently offers 29 domestic service centers nationwide, automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Scania Korea and MAN Truck only have 10 centers each. In terms of direct service centers that are capable of repairing major parts, such as engines and transmissions, the number of available locations nationwide is three to four.

Officials at Volvo Truck Korea said in news reports that the company plans to increase its number of service centers to 40 within the next three years. During a press conference last year, Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt announced his vision to also sell 4,000 commercial trucks in Korea annually by 2020.

By Julie Jackson (