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South Korea August 2018: Hyundai Santa Fe marks 6 months at #1

Hyundai Santa Fe

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

The South Korean new car market gains a relatively solid 5.2% year-on-year in August to 145.542 units, once again helped by very healthy sales by foreign manufacturers up 9.5% to 13.2% share while local marques advance slower at +4.5% to 126.336. The picture isn’t as stark as YTD though where local brands actually drop -0.6% to 1.022.366 and it’s foreigners up 16.7% to 180.133 that are solely responsible for the market 1.6% uptick to 1.202.499 units. Hyundai (+1%) continues to underperform due to the transfer of some Hyundai Genesis sales into the Genesis brand but remains at an ultra-dominant 37.4% share vs. 36% so far in 2018. Sister brand Kia (+8%) fares better at 30.4% vs. 29.8% as does Ssangyong (+10%) bolstered by a handful of reimagined nameplates.

Renault Samsung (+2%) posts its first year-on-year gain in 13 months (since July 2017) after falling by the double-digits during 10 of the past 12 months, at its worst at -46% last October. GM Korea (-26%) can’t say the same, enduring an 18th consecutive double-digit drop. Genesis (+358%) is back to #6 overall for the first time since last January, meaning it outsells all luxury foreigners such as Mercedes (-43%), BMW (-42%) and Audi (#9) continuing its recovery alongside VW (#10) after being sidestepped by the Korean government over unlawful emissions. Porsche (+512%), Jaguar (+113%), Land Rover (+76%), Rolls-Royce (+71%), Cadillac (+59%), Volvo (+50%), Honda (+34%) and Ford/Lincoln (+32%) also have a big smile on their faces.

Model-wise, the Hyundai Santa Fe (+121%) is the most popular nameplate at home for the 6th month in a row thanks to the new generation, a feat the nameplate hadn’t managed in almost 15 years and even perhaps ever, as it is unclear how many months the Santa Fe spent at #1 in 2014 which is the only year it ended at #1. However because the previous generation had such low scores during the first two months of 2018, the Santa Fe still isn’t #1 YTD, an honour that still goes to the Hyundai Grandeur (+9%) with a 4.500-unit advantage. The Hyundai Avante (+9%) returns to the podium ahead of the Kia Carnival (+32%) while the remainder of the Top 10 is in negative except the Hyundai Tucson (+0.3%) up 9 spots on July thanks to a mid-cycle facelift. The Hyundai Veloster (+5575%), Kia K9 (+1464%), Chevrolet Bolt (+1032%), Kia Niro (+92%), Ssangyong Korando Sports (+86%), Kia Ray (+76%), Samsung QM6 (+75%), Kia K5 (+47%) and Kia Sportage (+34%) also make waves.

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

One year ago: South Korea August 2017: Hyundai Kona in Top 10

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

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