The global SUV market has grown rapidly in recent years, with the ratio of SUVs accounting for 25 percent of total vehicle sales in 2016, up from 17 percent in 2012, according to data from the Korea Automobile Importers and Exporters Association.
In South Korea, the SUV ratio also jumped to 41 percent last year from 22 percent in 2009, the KAIDA data showed.
|Maserati`s first SUV model `Levante` (Yonhap)|
To grab a share in the Korean SUV market, imported carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz and Maserati have launched their upgraded or new SUV models. They are being accepted well in the local markets despite high prices that reach 380 million won ($340,000) for Mercedes-Benz AMG G 65 463 edition.
"As carmakers come up with more sophisticated and high-performance SUVs, some high-income earners are looking for multipurpose models instead of sedans," a KAIDA official said.
Among imported carmakers, Mercedes-Benz sold 2,908 GLE models in the January-July period, jumping from 1,725 a year earlier. The sale of BMW X5 model also climbed to 1,936 from 1,148 during the same period, KAIDA data showed.
Volvo and Maserati sold 743 XC90 and 450 Levante models, respectively, in the first seven months this year. The models were not available in the Korean market in the same period last year, the data said.
KAIDA expected local demand for high-end SUVs will remain strong in the next three to four years in line with the global SUV market trends. (Yonhap)