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South Korea: 1990-2022 Historical Data now available

The Hyundai Sonata ranked #1 at home 16 times between 1994 and 2015.

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 over 30 years worth of Historical Data for South Korea. Over the period, a Hyundai was the best-seller 32 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.

2009 Hyundai Sonata

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.

The Daewoo Nubira was #3 in South Korea in 1999.

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 Samsung SM5 sold a record 100.777 units in South Korea in 2002.

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 and 2022) while 2017 was the first time the Hyundai Grandeur took the annual top spot honours, doing so again in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

2011 Hyundai Avante

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:

South Korea 1990-1991: Hyundai Excel dominates millionaire market (new)

South Korea 1992-1993: Hyundai Elantra takes the relay in market up to 1.4m (new)

South Korea 1994-1995: Hyundai Sonata tops market stabilised at 1.5m (new)

South Korea 1996: Hyundai Sonata and Avante fight for #1 in record market (new)

South Korea 1997: Daewoo outsells Kia for the first time in market down -7.5% (new)

South Korea 1998: Daewoo Matiz takes pole position

South Korea 1999: Hyundai Sonata new best-seller

South Korea 2000: Hyundai Sonata, Kia Carens & Daewoo Rezzo on top

South Korea 2001: Hyundai Sonata and Avante dominate

South Korea 2002: Samsung SM5 up to #2 with 100,777 sales

South Korea 2003: Hyundai Sonata keeps Avante at bay

South Korea 2004: Hyundai Santa Fe takes control

South Korea 2005: Hyundai NF Sonata most popular by far

South Korea 2006: Hyundai Sonata and Grandeur best-sellers

South Korea 2007: Hyundai Sonata and Avante fight it off

South Korea 2008: Hyundai Sonata clear leader, Kia Morning up to #3

South Korea 2009: Hyundai Avante #1, new Sonata sells 60,000 in 4 months

South Korea 2010: Hyundai Sonata and Avante shine

South Korea 2011: Hyundai Avante and Kia Morning dominate

South Korea 2012: Hyundai Avante and Sonata lead

South Korea 2013: Hyundai Avante’s slim win over the Kia Morning

South Korea 2014: Hyundai Sonata reclaims leadership

South Korea 2015: Hyundai Sonata #1, Ssangyong Tivoli shines

South Korea 2016: Hyundai Porter first LCV to #1

South Korea 2017: First win for the Hyundai Grandeur

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

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

South Korea 2020: Market up 5.8%, Genesis up to #3 brand, Hyundai Grandeur best-seller

South Korea 2021: Hyundai Porter best-seller, Genesis up 28% in market down -8.6%

South Korea 2022: Kia threatens Hyundai for #1, Hyundai Porter and Kia Sorento on top

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