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South Korea Full Year 2019: Hyundai Grandeur snaps third straight win at last minute, market down -1.9%

The Hyundai Grandeur scores a third straight year at #1 in South Korea.

Discover 25 years of South Korean Historical Data here.

The South Korean new light vehicle market edges down -1.9% year-on-year in 2019 to 1.772.277 units. Hyundai (+2.8%) swims upstream and improves its already mammoth market share by almost two percentage points from 36.5% in 2018 to 38.3% this year. Sister company Kia (-2.3%) goes the other way but keeps its share relatively stable at 29.3%. Add Genesis (-7.4%) and the Hyundai-Kia Group now holds a commanding 70.8% share of its home market vs. 69.3% a year ago. Ssangyong (+0.9%) is the only Korean carmaker to gain volume in 2019, leading to a 6.2% share at #3. Renault Samsung (-3.9%) edges up one spot to #4 as does Mercedes (+10.4%) lodging the only double-digit gain in the Top 10, both taking advantage of the sinking of GM Korea (-18.1%). Outside the Top 10, Jeep/Chrysler (+35.1%), Volvo (+24%), Mini (+11.2%), Honda (+10.1%) and well down the ranking Lamborghini (+1472.7%) are the only foreign carmakers up. Volkswagen (-44.7%), Bentley (-40%), Nissan (-39.7%), Land Rover (-34.5%), Jaguar (-32.9%), Ford/Lincoln (-24.6%), Maserati (-24.1%) and Peugeot (-21.7%) implode.

The Hyundai Sonata was #1 YTD as late as end-November.

Over in the models ranking, the Hyundai Grandeur (-8.6%) snatches a third consecutive annual win in extremis and thanks to a new generation launched in October. After dominating the charts for the first 4 months of the year, it lost its YTD lead in July to the Hyundai Porter, dropped to #7 in September in the lead-up to the new generation launch and ranked only #3 after 11 months, reclaiming the annual pole position on the sole strength of its December performance (13.170 sales). The Hyundai Sonata (+51.9%) topped the monthly charts 4 times this year (May, June, August and October) and led the way after 11 months but dropped to #2 at the last minute. The Hyundai Porter (0.5%) winner in July remains at #3 while the Hyundai Santa Fe (-19.6%) leader in September drops two spots to #4 as the honeymoon with the current generation is now well and truly over and competition intensified from its 7-seat variant the Hyundai Palisade, up to #10 for its first full year in market.

The VW Arteon just misses out on a first Top 10 foreigner finish.

The most successful 2019 launch is the Kia Seltos (#21) peaking at #4 in September ahead of the Hyundai Venue (#28) peaking at #12 in August and September. Other great performers in 2019 include the Ssangyong Korando (+382.4%), Genesis G90 (+82.9%), Kia K7 (+36.3%) and Samsung QM6 (+44.4%). The Mercedes E-Class (+12%) easily remains the best-selling foreign model in South Korea with just under 40.000 units which would earn it a spot inside the overall Top 20 models for 2019. The BMW 5 Series (-18.5%) follows once again but sells less than half the E-Class volume, while the Mercedes C-Class (+25.5%) soars 4 spots on last year to climb on the third step of the podium. In fact, Mercedes holds 4 of the Top 5 spots with the GLC (+2.7%) and S-Class (+4.6%) in tow. Outstanding performances in the remainder of the Top 10 by the Mercedes CLS (+127.5%), Audi A6 (+84.4%) and Honda Accoyrd (+13.5%) while the VW Arteon (+548.8%) is up 57 ranks on 2018 to just miss out on an annual Top 10 finish.

Previous month: South Korea November 2019: Hyundai Grandeur fights off Sonata to #1

Previous year: South Korea 2018: Hyundai Grandeur resists Santa Fe assault, Genesis at 3.4% share

Two years ago: South Korea 2017: First win for the Hyundai Grandeur

Full Year 2019 Top 30 All-brands, Top 68 local models and Top 50 foreign models vs. Full Year 2018 figures below.

Full December 2019 Top 30 All-brands, Top 55 local models and Top 10 foreign models below.

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