May 2020 update: Now with All-brands and All-models rankings from 1990 to 1997, meaning there are now 30 uninterrupted years of annual All-local models rankings for South Korea (5 new articles).
BSCB covers 30 years worth of Historical Data for South Korea. Over the period, a Hyundai was the best-seller 29 times, with the Daewoo Matiz in 1998 the only exception to the rule… This means that quite strikingly, never has a Kia been the best-selling vehicle annually in South Korea. The Hyundai Excel starts with two years on top in 1990 and 1991, relayed by the Hyundai Elantra in 1992 and 1993. Then the Hyundai Sonata takes control in 1994 and holds onto the lead for four consecutive years.
Interrupted by the Daewoo Matiz in 1998 when the South-East Asian economic crisis cut the South Korean new car market in half, the Hyundai Sonata would in fact top the models ranking no less than 14 times between 1994 and 2010 including ten times in 12 years spanning 3 generations beteen 1999 and 2010. It was only interrupted twice: in 2004 by the Hyundai Santa Fe and in 2009 by the Hyundai Avante. However, both years corresponded to generation changes for the Sonata, with different generations counted separately. The Sonata nameplate would have led for 12 consecutive years.
Discover or rediscover forgotten nameplates like the Hyundai Atos #2 in 1998, the Daewoo Nubira #3 in 1999, the Daewoo Rezzo #3 in 2000 for its first year of sales in the country, the SsangYong Musso #7 in 2003 and the Kia Lotze #7 in 2006. Notice also the Kia Carens #2 in 2000, the Kia Carnival #3 in 2001, and the Kia Sportage #3 in 2005.
The next 3 years were dominated the Hyundai Avante, best-seller in 2011, 2012 and 2013 before the Hyundai Sonata reclaimed its crown in 2014 and 2015. 2016 marked the first ever year a light commercial vehicle managed to top the annual sales charts (the Hyundai Porter, also #1 in 2021) while 2017 was the first time the Hyundai Grandeur took the annual top spot honours, doing so again in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Note that on top of the period’s leaders (Hyundai Excel, Elantra, Sonata, Santa Fe, Avante, Porter and Grandeur), only seven additional nameplates managed to crack the 100.000 annual sales barrier over the past 30 years: the Kia Pride starting in 1991, the Kia Sephia for the first time in 1993, the Hyundai Accent, Daewoo Tico and Kia Credos all in 1996, the Samsung SM5 in 2002 and the Kia Morning in 2009.
South Korea Historical Data: