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South Korea March 2019: Ssangyong (+18.8%), Genesis (+8.5%) can’t help market down -5.7%

The new generation Korando helps Ssangyong up 18.8% this month at home.

This article has been updated with all foreign brands and the Top 80 foreign models.

The South Korean new car market drops -5.7% year-on-year in March to 156.366 units, tilting the year-to-date tally into negative at -2.4% to 414.482. Local brands edge down -0.8% this month while foreigners sink -31.5%, while YTD locals are up 1.4% but foreigners lose -22.6%. Market leader Hyundai (+3.3%) is sturdy whereas sister brand Kia (-8.9%) and Renault Samsung (-16.2%) skid down. GM Korea (+2.4%) ends a depressing streak of four consecutive months of double-digit declines to record its first uptick since last October, but the winners of the month among locals are without contest Ssangyong up a fantastic +18.8% as its lineup progressively gets revamped, and Genesis soaring 8.5% to end March less than 100 sales below GM Korea in 6th place overall above all foreign brands. In the foreigner’s aisle, Honda (+125.9%), Porsche (+82.7%), Volvo (+72.8%) and Lexus (+16.5%) stand out. Audi drops 14 spots to a paltry 23rd spot while Volkswagen almost disappears (-98.1%) with just 8 sales for the month…

The Honda Accord leaps to 3rd best-selling foreign model in South Korea in March.

Model-wise, Hyundai trusts the entire Top 5 like last month and YTD with the Grandeur (-0.6%) the only nameplate in the country managing a five-digit sales figure this month, ahead of the Porter (+6%), Santa Fe (-37.1%) hit full frontal by the arrival of the larger Palisade which breaks its volume record at a splendid 6.377 units and the Sonata (+6.2%). Further down, the Ssangyong Korando (+664.6%) thanks to a new generation, Genesis G90 (+139.3%), Ssangyong Korando Sports (+36%), Chevrolet Malibu (+30.1%), Samsung QM6 (+27.4%) and Kia Ray (+18%) post the largest gains in the remainder of the Top 30. Among foreigners, the Mercedes E-Class (-47.5%) and BMW 5-Series (-65%) are the top sellers despite ghastly losses, while the Honda Accord climbs onto the podium thanks to the new generation. The Land Rover Discovery Sport (#6), Mercedes GLC (#7) and Porsche Cayenne (#10) also shine.

Previous month: South Korea February 2019: Hyundai monopolises Top 6 for the first time in at least 7 years, Palisade holds at #4

One year ago: South Korea March 2018: Hyundai Santa Fe shoots to #1, Next lands

Full March 2019 Top 30 All-brands, Top 57 All local models and Top 85 foreigners below.

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