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South Korea Full Year 2015: Hyundai Sonata #1, Ssangyong Tivoli shines

Hyundai Sonata South Korea 2015Hyundai Sonata

* See the Top 30 All-brands, Top 55 local models & Top 170 foreigners by clicking on the title *

Excellent year for new car sales in South Korea, up 11% on 2014 to 1.824.288 registrations. If local manufacturers show dynamic growth at +9% to 1.579.706 units, foreign carmakers lodge a second consecutive year at +25% to reach a record 244.582 deliveries, the first time in the history of South Korean automobile that foreigners cross the symbolic 200.000 annual sales mark. They also reach an all-ime high 13.4% market share vs. 11.9% last year. Hyundai (+9%) maintains its iron grip on its home market at 39.1% share while sister company Kia (+12%) improves to 28.9. Both carmakers combined hold a staggering 68% of the South Korean market, stable year-on-year.

Peugeot 2008 South Korea 2015. Picture courtesy motorian.krThe 2008 helps lift Peugeot sales up 136% in South Korea in 2015.

GM Korea, which includes the Chevrolet and Daewoo brands, evolves like the market at +10% but the nice surprise of 2015 comes from Ssangyong: up 45% to just under 100.000 sales, overtaking rival Renault Samsung – this mainly thanks to the new Tivoli as we’ll see further down. Foreign carmakers are once again dominated by Germans brands: BMW remains the most popular import at #6 overall (+19%), followed by Mercedes (+32%), Volkswagen (+17%) and Audi (+18%). Lexus shoots up 29% to bypass parent company Toyota (+17%) and break into the overall Top 10 brands. Volvo (+42%), Nissan (+45%), Porsche (+50%), Land Rover (+55%) and Peugeot (+136%) all take off.

Ssangyong Tivoli South Korea 2015. Picture courtesy Tivoli

Model-wise, the Hyundai Sonata posts a second consecutive year in the top spot thanks to stable sales at 108.438. It is the 12th time the Sonata is crowned at home since 2000, with interruptions only in 2004 (Hyundai Santa Fe) and in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013 when the Hyundai Avante (aka Elantra) was #1. The same Avante, boosted by a mid-life refresh, is up 7% and two spots to #2, ahead of the Hyundai Porter (+4%) and Santa Fe (+20%). The Kia Morning at #5 (-8%) and Hyundai Grandeur at #6 (-6%) both lose ground but the Kia Sorento (+104%) and Carnival (+62%) both enjoy the first full year of their new generation inside the Top 10.

Genesis EQ900 South Korea 2015Genesis EQ900

Further down, the Ssangyong Tivoli is by far the most popular all-new model for 2015, landing directly at #15 and hitting a personal best 12th place in November – likely the highest ranking by any Ssangyong model in over a decade – and 5.328 sales in October. Far below, we welcome the Chevrolet Impala at #36 (but up to #19 in December) and last but not least, the flagship model of a new luxury brand launched by Hyundai in December: the Genesis EQ900 at #53 with 530 units sold in the last month of the year.

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 South Korea 2015The Mercedes S-Class is the 5th best-selling foreign model in South Korea in 2015.

The Mercedes E-Class remains the most popular foreign model in South Korea with sales up 12% to 19,658. Like in 2014 it is followed by its direct competitors the BMW 5 Series (+4%) and Audi A6 (+11%) with the smaller BMW 3 Series taking 4th spot (+22%). Extraordinary score from the Mercedes S-Class lifted up 148% to an incredible 5th place and 10.356 sales by the new model. Other great performers include the Mercedes C-Class up 48%, the Mini Cooper up 52%, the Peugeot 2008 landing directly at #12 with 4.048 sales, the Audi A3 up 121%, BMW 4 Series up 105% and the Nissan Qashqai arriving at #29 with 2.218 delivers.

Previous month: South Korea November 2015: Tivoli hits highest Ssangyong ranking in 11 years

Previous year: South Korea Full Year 2014: Hyundai Sonata reclaims leadership

Two years ago: South Korea Full Year 2013: Hyundai Avante’s slim win over Kia Morning

Full Year 2015 Top 30 All-brands, Top 55 local models & Top 170 foreigners vs. 2014 figures below.

Full December 2015 Top 30 All-brands, Top 52 local models & Top 140 foreigners below.

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