BUSINESS

Sales of non-domestic used cars skyrocket

By Julie Kim Jackson
  • Published : Mar 22, 2017 - 16:14
  • Updated : Mar 22, 2017 - 17:45
The imported car market has seen explosive growth in the certified used car industry in recent years, with sales by major imported car brands such as Mercedes-Benz seeing a 346.4 percent surge last year. 

A total of nine imported car brands are currently operating certified used car dealerships in Korea including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, Lexus, Porsche, Infiniti and Ferrari.

Although purchasing previously-owned cars from official certified dealers is roughly 10 percent more costly compared to non-certified dealers, industry insiders are attributing the sales growth to the automakers offering extended warranties as well as increasing the number of quality customer services options.

Companies such as BMW provide its second-hand car customers with a one-year, 20,000-kilometer free warranty, along with full maintenance history records and options for lease and installment financing services.

While BMW Korea remains the best-selling certified used car brand, leading the pack in the largest sales jump last year was Mercedes-Benz Korea with an unprecedented triple-digit growth.

“Consumers have become more aware of the authenticity and credibility of used cars,” said a Benz official.

An interior view of Mercedes-Benz Korea’s “StarClass” certified used car dealership. (Mercedes-Benz-Korea)

The local distributor of the luxury German car brand achieved a double-digit increase in its domestic car sales in 2016 compared to the previous year and went on to snag the No. 1 spot in the domestic import market.

In addition, Benz’s second-hand car sales in 2016 also recorded the highest jump among all its competitors, selling a total of 4,281 used units last year, up 3,322 units compared to the previous year, according to company officials.

When Mercedes-Bez first kick-started its certified used car ventures in 2011, company sales had hovered at an average of 380 units until 2013.

Looking to expand its second-hand vehicle business, the company stated that it plans to increase the number of its previously-owned car dealerships, referred to as “StarClass,” by adding nine more centers by the end of the year for a total of 20 locations.

BMW Korea has also seen a significant boom in its sales of certified used vehicles. The automaker still stands as the country’s highest-selling official used car dealer.

Last year, BMW sold 6,900 units, marking a 32.7 percent increase from 2015.

BMW Korea first entered the domestic used car business in 2006 and recorded sales of 487 units in its first year. Over the past decade, the company’s sales have been on a steady incline every year from 1,129 units in 2010 to 5,200 in 2015.

Audi Korea also joined the certified used car dealership in September 2015, selling 328 units in four months to the end of the year. In its first full year last year, the car maker sold 1,300 vehicles.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)