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South Korea Full Year 2014: Hyundai Sonata reclaims leadership

Hyundai Sonata South Korea 2014. Picture courtesy of caranddriver.comHyundai Sonata

* See the Top 200 All-models and Top 30 All-brands by clicking on the title *

Sales of new local cars are up a robust 6% year-on-year in South Korea to 1,453,786 registrations, whereas imports surge by an astounding 25% to 196,359 units, lifting the total market up by 8% to 1,650,145 deliveries. Brand-wise, Hyundai (39.5%) and Kia (28.6%) maintain their stranglehold on their home market, adding up to an incredible 68.1% share, nevertheless down from 69.9% in 2013. GM Korea, including the Chevrolet and Daewoo brands, sees its sales slide by 3% but remains third, while Renault Samsung overtakes Ssangyong for 4th spot thanks to the arrival of the QM3 aka Renault Captur. The Germans dominate imports: BMW is the most popular foreign manufacturer, followed by Mercedes, Volkswagen and Audi. A distaste for Japanese brands sees Toyota lurk at a paltry 10th spot, Lexus at #13, Nissan at #16 and Honda at #17.

Kia Carnival South Korea 2014. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comKia Carnival

The models sales charts gets a complete reshuffle at the top. Four years after it last appeared in pole position, the Hyundai Sonata reclaims the leadership at home thanks to the new generation of the model and sales up 22% to 108,014 units. It’s the 9th time overall that the Sonata tops its home sales charts. If the Kia Morning (+3%) and Hyundai Porter (+4%) stick to their 2013 rankings, 2013 leader the Hyundai Avante pays the price for stable sales in a growing market by dropping 3 spots to #4.

Kia Sorento South Korea 2014. Picture courtesy motortrend.comKia Sorento

Like in 2013, Hyundai places 5 models in the Top 6 and sees the Genesis take off 255% to #16 thanks to a much-improved new generation. Other great gainers include the Kia Carnival up 36% to #14, the Kia Sorento up 31% to #15 and the Chevrolet Malibu up 70% to #25. The Samsung QM3 (aka Renault Captur) ranks #27 with 18,191 sales for its first full year in market.

Mercedes E Class South Korea 2014. Picture courtesy of Mercedes E-Class is the best-selling foreign model in South Korea in 2014.

As far as foreign models are concerned, only 3 manage to find their way into the annual Top 30, making South Korea one of the Top 3 most nationalistic car markets in the world along with Japan and Germany. And these 3 models all belong to the same high-end segment and are all German: the Mercedes E-Class is in charge at #28 just above the BMW 5 Series at #29 and Audi A6 at #30. BMW also places the 3 Series in the Top 50, Mercedes the C-Class and Volkswagen the Tiguan, Golf and Passat while Lexus places the ES at #47.

Previous post: South Korea November 2014: Kia Morning #1, Hyundai Aslan up

Previous year: South Korea Full Year 2013: Hyundai Avante’s slim win over Kia Morning

Two years ago: South Korea Full Year 2012: Hyundai Avante and Sonata lead

Full Year 2014 Top 200 All-models and Top 30 All-brands vs. local 2013 figures below.

Full December 2014 Top 53 All-locals models Ranking Table below.

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