* See the Top 53 All-local models by clicking on the title! *
Sales of new local models in South Korea are up 2% year-on-year in October to 121,430 registrations, bringing the year-to-date total to 1.172.735 units, down 6% on 2013. The Kia Morning is up 3 spots on September to take the lead of the models ranking for the first time since March 2013 thanks to 9,101 units, kicking the Hyundai Avante down to #2 at 8,779 units with the Hyundai Porter rounding up the podium at 8,636 sales. The Hyundai Sonata is down two ranks to #4 but remain in the YTD pole position by far with 88,485 sales, almost 10,000 above any other vehicle on sale in the country this year. As expected, the new generation Kia Sorento’s honeymoon period is short-lived: already down 4 spots on September to a still very satisfying 7th place with 5,164 sales, a 78% improvement on the previous gen one year ago.
This month Hyundai launched an all-new nameplate: the Aslan, a mid-size luxury sedan aimed at halting the flow of customers to imported premium brands on the South Korean auto maker’s home turf led by Mercedes, BMW and Audi which also happen to be the best-selling imported manufacturers in the country full stop. In September, imports surged 34% year-on-year while local fare is essentially stable. Question 1. Can South Korean customers attracted by premium German flair really be lured back to their leading home brand? My answer is no, at least not at home. In the US potentially where the Hyundai brand is jumping leaps and bounds in terms of brand image, perceived quality and reliability.
Question 2. Is the premium end of the Hyundai Korean range starting to be too crowded and thus prone to cannibalisation by the Aslan? It slots in between the Grandeur and Genesis and both models have had tremendous success on home turf lately: the Grandeur ranked #1 overall in January and February this year and the Genesis is up 242% in October to #13 and 3% share, up 270% YTD to #15. Add to this the leadership of the Sonata which will sell over 100,000 units at home this year and it does start to look relatively crowded indeed. A tough challenge ahead for the Aslan, not an impossible one but one that will be fascinating to follow over the next couple of years.
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Full October 2014 Top 53 All-local models Ranking Table below.