Imported cars registered in South Korea are expected to surpass the 600,000-unit mark for the first time this month, buoyed by solid consumer demand, a trade association said Thursday.
The Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association said the number of foreign-made cars on the country’s streets, excluding commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses, hit 596,398 units as of the end of October.
The figure is equivalent to 4.2 percent of the 14 million passenger cars registered in the country, with numbers to exceed 600,000 by the end of November.
KAIDA said the increase is noteworthy because the total number of foreign cars in the country only surpassed the 500,000 mark one year ago, with total market size reaching 510,319 units as of late 2010.
“The increase can be attributed to more people wanting to own diverse car models compared to the past, and the influx of more affordable, smaller-sized vehicles,” it said.
The association added that of all foreign car brands, Germany’s luxury carmaker BMW led the pack with 104,559 vehicles in the country, followed by Mercedes-Benz with 88,941 cars.
BMW is the only foreign carmaker that has more than 100,000 vehicles registered in the country, or 17.5 percent of all imported cars. The market share for Mercedes-Benz stood at 14.9 percent, followed by Lexus.
Other carmakers such as Volkswagen and Audi made the top five list, with U.S. carmakers Chrysler and Ford ranking seventh and eighth, respectively, in terms of registered cars. There were 31,902 Chryslers and 27,126 Fords in the country as of last month.