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South Korea September 2019: Hyundai Santa Fe back to #1, Kia Seltos up to #4, Mercedes up 4-fold in market up 4.1%

The Kia Seltos is up to #4 in South Korea in September.

18/10 update: Now with the Top 10 foreign models.

The South Korean new car market manages to post its first gain since last January at +4.1% to 132.611 units thanks to foreign manufacturers particularly strong at +17.3% to 20.204 and 15.2% share with local carmakers a little more discreet but still up at +2.1% to 112.407 and 84.8% of the market. Year-to-date, South Korea is down -3.7% to 1.280.930, this time handicapped by freefalling foreigners at -14.1% to 169.431 registrations and 13.2% share while local brands resist a lot better at -1.9% to 1.111.499 units and 86.8% share. Hyundai (-3.8%) continues to lose ground at 35.1% share vs. 38.9% YTD whereas sister brand Kia (+17.3%) is once again in outstanding shape at 31.7% vs. 29.3% so far in 2019. The gap between Hyundai and Kia thaws from 4.954 sales and 3.7 percentage points in August to just 3.555 and 3.4 this month, the lowest since we follow South Korea monthly in 2010.

The Hyundai Santa Fe is #1 at home for the first time in almost a year.

Below Renault Samsung (+16.4%), Mercedes (+296.7%) spectacularly multiplies its sales by 4 year-on-year and lands in 4th place with 5.8% share, its highest level since January 2017 (6.4%). Ssangyong (-5.4%) and GM Korea (-30.4%) follow in difficulty above BMW (+107.1%), Genesis (-13.1%) and Audi (-16%). Mini (+30.7%) rounds out the Top 10 while below, Lamborghini (+3300%), Volvo (+66.6%), Lexus (+49.8%), Porsche (+24.8%) and Jaguar (+17.8%) impress with fantastic gains whereas Volkswagen (-92.4%), Nissan (-87.2%), Honda (-82.2%), Infiniti (-69.2%), Citroen (-62.4%), Toyota (-61.9%), Ford (-55.7%) and Land Rover (-53.7%) all implode.

The Chevy Colorado makes its first appearance as a local in South Korea.

In the models ranking, the Hyundai Santa Fe (-6.2%) unexpectedly reclaims control for the first time since October 2018 but remains #4 YTD, it dislodges the Hyundai Sonata (+62.8%) from the top spot just as the new Kia K7 (+106.1%) remains at an outstanding third place. The Kia Seltos steps up to a new record #4 for only its third month in market, with the Hyundai Porter (-25.9%) is down 3 spots on August to #5 but holds onto the YTD top spot. The Samsung QM6 (+60.3%) is up to #9, its highest monthly ranking so far in 2019, and the Kia Morning is up 13.2% to #8, the only two additional Top 10 models posting a double-digit gain. Among new launches, the Hyundai Venue remains at #12, the Hyundai Palisade is up two spots on last month to #19, the Renault Samsung Master stays at #39 and the Chevrolet Colorado makes its entrance at #66 with a very shy 28 sales.

Previous month: South Korea August 2019: Kia Seltos breaks into Top 5 in market down -6.1%

One year ago: South Korea September 2018: Hyundai Grand Starex up to #6 in freefalling market

Full September 2019 Top 30 All-brands, Top 60 All local models and Top 10 foreign models below.

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