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South Korea July 2018: Santa Fe, foreigners pull market up 4.1%

The Hyundai Santa Fe has been the best-selling vehicle in South Korea for the past 5 months.

This post has been updated with the Top 85 foreign models.

New car sales in South Korea gain 4.1% year-on-year to 154.310 registrations, once again generously helped by foreigners up 10.1% to 13.3% share while local carmakers are up 3.2% to 133.792. The year-to-date picture is even more striking, with foreign manufacturers, up 17.6% to 160.927 units, solely responsible for the market growth at +1.2% to 1.056.957 just as local carmakers drop 1.3% to 896.030. Brand leader Hyundai (-4%) loses ground but sister marque Kia (+8%) is very dynamic, as is Ssangyong (+13%) whereas Renault Samsung (-4%) and more worryingly GM Korea (-17%) continue to skid down. Mercedes (-14%) remains the most popular foreign carmaker despite a steep year-on-year fall, with Genesis (+299%) once again posting extravagant gains thanks to the rebranding of the Hyundai Genesis into Genesis G80. BMW soars 24% but stays #8 while Volkswagen (#9) and Audi (#10) are finally reunited in the Top 10 for the first time in over two years (June 2016) after being absent of the South Korean ranking altogether due to stop sales ordered on its diesel models. Porsche (+62%), Rolls Royce (+57%), Volvo (+30%), Land Rover (+28%) and Toyota (+21%) make themselves noticed whereas Nissan (-41%), Jaguar (-33%), Lexus (-32%), Honda (-30%) and Infiniti (-28%) are in great difficulty.

Ssangyong Rexton Sports

In the local models aisle, the Hyundai Santa Fe (+169%) celebrates five consecutive months in pole position thanks to the new generation, a feat the nameplate hadn’t managed in almost 15 years. Because its sales were so superior to the previous model on sale until last February, the Santa Fe weirdly still doesn’t hold the YTD top spot, and by far: the Hyundai Grandeur (-29%) is still on top by a comfortable 5.393 units: the gap between the two models is 1.322 sales in July so at this rate, the Santa Fe will have to wait until November to take the lead, if it ever does… The Hyundai Porter (-8%) and Avante (+6%) make the Top Four 100% Hyundai for the first time since exactly a year ago in July 2017. The Kia Carnival (+19%) and Sorento (+1%) follow and are the only other Top 10 models in positive alongside the Hyundai Kona (+56%) returning among South Korea’s ten favourite for the first time since last February. The Ssangyong Rexton Sports (+144%) has now clearly established its new status as the brand’s best-seller (third consecutive month), with the Hyundai Veloster (+2500%), Chevrolet Bolt/Volt (+1509%), Kia K9 (+771%), Samsung SM5 (+126%), Kia K3 (+98%) and Samsung QM6 (+74%) also posting spectacular gains.

Previous month: South Korea June 2018: Hyundai Santa Fe cements leadership

One year ago: South Korea July 2017: Hyundai Kona and Kia Stonic land

Full July 2018 Top 30 brands, Top 60 local models and Top 85 foreign models below.

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