Consumer appetite for expensive imported cars is bigger than ever in South Korea.
According to data from the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association on Monday, total sales of imported cars with a retail price exceeding 100 million won ($85,156) as of August jumped 65.5 percent on-year.
The total number of vehicles in that price range sold in the first eight months of the year was 45,042. This exceeds the total number of high-end imported cars sold in all of 2020, when sales of such cars posted a historic record.
Luxury cars accounted for 23.2 percent of sales among all imported cars, a 7.2 percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier.
Should the trend continue, experts expect total sales of higher-priced import cars to pass the 50,000 mark for the first time this year.
By brand, Mercedes-Benz was the most popular, with more than 19,000 units from the German carmaker sold over the past eight months. BMW and Porsche followed with 13,029 and 6,315 units sold, respectively. Audi sold 2,957 vehicles and the Italian carmaker Maserati sold 547.
Experts say that the growing popularity of eco-friendly cars and recreational vehicles may have pushed sales of luxury imported automobiles in South Korea.
The so-called “revenge shopping” trend – customers spending exorbitantly on luxury items to make up for time lost during COVID-19 lockdowns – may also have contributed to the sales increase.
According to KAIDA statistics, 52.7 percent of luxury cars sold as of last month were models considered to be “eco-friendly,” such as hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, or plugged in hybrid cars. It’s also a four-fold increase compared to the number of “green” cars sold last year.
Sales of recreational vehicles priced over 100 million won also grew by 84.4 percent from last year to 24,159.
Corporate customers still remained as the biggest buyers of luxury vehicles.
Some 65 percent of luxury vehicles were bought for business purposes. Only 34.8 percent, or 15,658 vehicles, were purchased by individual customers.
By Kang Jae-eun (email@example.com