The South Korean new car market resumes its progression in April at +8% to 165.355 registrations, helped by a 29% year-on-year surge by foreign carmakers at 25.923 units while local manufacturers edge up 5% to 139.432. Year-to-date, the market’s 2% uptick is solely due to foreigners soaring 24% to 93.328 whereas homegrown marques are down 1% to 496.748. Brand leader Hyundai reverses 1% to 35.5% share this month vs. 35.7% YTD (-3%) with sister brand Kia catching up at +15% to 30.2% vs. 29.6% YTD (+6%). Ssangyong (-3%) remains in third place while Mercedes posts a spectacular 28% improvement to 4.4% at #4, once again distancing Renault Samsung (-21%) at #5. BMW (+4%) remains in 6th place, making it the third consecutive month – and ever – that two foreign marques outselling embattled GM Korea, imploding another 54% year-on-ytear in April to just 3.3% share vs. 4.3% so far in 2018. It is now down to #6 YTD vs. #3 in FY2017.
Genesis (+452%) continues to posts extravagant gains but this is because the Hyundai Genesis was rebranded Genesis G80 in November last year and accounts for over 60% of the new premium marque’s sales. Audi is up 16 spots on March to return among South Korea’s Top 10 brands for the first time since July 2016 before a stop sales on its diesel variants reduced its deliveries to nought. Volkswagen is also slowly climbing back the South Korean marques ladder after 1.5 years of absence, up 5 ranks on last month to #15 and 0.5% share for the month. Land Rover (+97%), Toyota (+92%), Volvo (+59%), Porsche (+42%), Ford/Lincoln (+29%) and Cadillac (+29%) are among the best performing brands in April.
Over in the models ranking, the Hyundai Santa Fe is propelled up 204% year-on-year by the new 4th generation to score a second consecutive monthly win. This is the first time in at least 13 years that the Santa Fe manages back-to-back wins at home in South Korea, with its previous (single month) victories being in June 2012, July 2015 and September 2016. The Santa Fe topped the annual South Korean rankings once: in 2004 and now ranks #2 YTD with sales up 73% to just above 32.000. The Hyundai Grandeur (-21%) remains in 2nd place despite a steep year-on-year drop and holds onto its YTD pole position for now at 39.000 units. It distances the Hyundai Porter (+7%), Kia Carnival (+40%) and the Kia K3 boosted up 147% by its facelift. The Ssangyong G4 Rexton (+469%), Kia K9 (+1021%) and Hyundai Veloster (+2800%), also get facelifted-induced sales injections while the Hyundai Nexo is up to a timid 51 sales and the Renault Samsung Clio makes its first appearance in the ranking at #55, although still branded Renault here.
The foreign models ranking sees the BMW 5 Series snap the top spot for the first time this year with just under 3.400 sales, a score that would see it leap to #14 in an all-models ranking. It is followed by the 2017 and 2018 YTD leader the Mercedes E-Class while the Audi A6 shoots up 45 spots on March to land on the third step of the podium as sales are now allowed in the country. The Mercedes C-Class is up one rank to #4, exchanging positions with its archenemy, the BMW 3 Series and both overtaking the Toyota Camry down 3 to #6. Another revenant, the VW Passat GT breaks into the Top 10 at #7 (+7), with the Ford Explorer, Lexus ES and Mercedes GLC rounding up the Top 10. Other great performers include the Volvo XC60 at #13, the BMW X4 at #17, Toyota Prius C at #21, Volvo XC90 at #29 and Jeep Cherokee at #32. The Range Rover Velar (#41) leads newcomers.
One year ago: South Korea March-April 2017: Hyundai Grandeur dominates
Full April 2018 Top 30 brands, Top 60 local models and Top 80 foreigners below.