South Korean import sales rebound in July

Importers in South Korea all plan to launch more electrified models

Sales of imported light passenger vehicles in South Korea increased by more than 23% to 24,389 units in July 2021, from 19,778 units a year ago, according to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA).

Shipments rebounded sharply after a moderate drop in June, when sales were slowed by social and trade restrictions put in place to limit the latest wave of coronavirus infections.

Imports continued to significantly outperform the domestic vehicle market, which fell 24% to 123,512 units last month.

Import sales in the first seven months of 2021 increased by more than 16% to 172,146 units from 148,014 units a year earlier, with German brands accounting for over 74% of the total – 128,190 units.

Mercedes-Benz continued to dominate the import market with sales increasing 18% to 49,253 units since the start of the year. The company plans to launch two new electric vehicle models this year, the EQA and the EQS, which will be sold alongside the current EQC.

Bmw appeared to have fully recovered from a hugely damaging recall campaign in 2018, with cumulative sales jumping nearly 45% to 42,283 units while Mini sales increased by more than 15% to 7,044 units.

Volkswagen announced a sales increase of nearly 14% to 9,693 units during the seven-month period, aided by the launch of the T-Roc SUV earlier in the year. The redesigned Golf is expected to launch later in 2021, followed by the Teramont SUV and ID.4 BEV in 2022.

Audi sales increased by more than 8% to 13,430 units while Porsche reported a 15% increase to 6,064 units.

At the end of last year, local distributor Audi Volkswagen Korea Group announced plans to launch eight new all-electric models by 2023 to meet growing local demand for zero-emission vehicles.

KAIDA said its members plan to launch 53 all-electric models in South Korea by the end of 2023, as well as 46 mild hybrid models and 32 electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.

This will put additional pressure on smaller domestic manufacturers.

Stellantis last month announced plans to launch six electrified models in South Korea by 2026, or one model per year, starting with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid in 2021.

You’re here sales, not covered by KAIDA, jumped 64% to 11,626 units in the first half.


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