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South Korea April 2020: Second solid market uptick (+7%) confirms post-COVID recovery, Genesis smashes record

The spectacular new G80 helps lift Genesis to a new volume record.

13/05 update: Now with Top 30 All-brands and Top 10 foreign models.

The coronavirus now seems like a long lost memory in South Korea which went from 2nd most affected country in the world as of March 6 when we initially published February 2020 data (6.284 cases), to 17th as of April 9 (10.450) and 38th at the time or writing (10.822) with new infections falling below 50 a day every day since April 9. As a result the market has now fully recovered, with April marking the second straight month of sturdy year-on-year growth at +7% to 165.374 sales. This includes 142.429 local brands (+4.5%) and 22.945 foreigners (+25.9%), the latter boosted by the return to market of Audi (2.043) and Volkswagen (1.345). Year-to-date, sales are now down -2.9% to 552.392 including 474.778 local brands (-4.8%) and 77.614 foreigners (+10.3%).

The new model lifts the Kia Sorento to its highest ranking in 2.5 years.

Hyundai (-10.4%) isn’t benefitting from the market recovery but remains the most popular carmaker at home at 35.2% share, with sister brand Kia (+19.6%) making impressive progress again at 30.4% of the market. Renault Samsung (+78.4%) is lifted by a successful new launch as we’ll see further down, but the true hero of the month is Genesis (+59.7%) smashing its all-time volume and share records at 10.217 and 6.2% vs. a previous best of 6.404 and 4.8% in January 2018. The concurrent launch of the GV80 SUV and the new G80 sedan may have been the missing link to truly establish the brand as a worthy competitor in the premium aisle. Meanwhile Mercedes (+3.1%) leapfrogs past GM Korea (+4.2%) and Ssangyong (-41.4%) both underperforming. BMW (+58.8%) posts another stellar surge at #8 with Audi and Volkswagen closing out the Top 10 and Lamborghini (+420%), Porsche (+203%), Citroen (+40%), Mini (+25.2%), Bentley (+13.3%) and Cadillac (+12.2%) also up further down.

The new Hyundai Avante (aka Elantra) has landed in South Korea. 

Model-wise, below the Hyundai Grandeur (+48%) still enjoying the effects of its new generation, the Kia Sorento (+108.2%) is up 13 spots on March to land in 2nd place overall thanks to the new model, reaching its highest ranking and volume since September 2017. The Hyundai Avante (+42.9%) is also boosted by a new generation, up 11 ranks on last month to #3, reaching its highest ranking since August 2018 and largest volume since April 2017. The Kia K5 (+114.3%) continues to annihilate the year-ago performance of its previous generation at #4, just as the Samsung XM3 (aka Renault Arkana) advances 3 spots on its inaugural month to a record #6.

The Genesis GV80 continues to climb up the charts: up to #13 in April.

The Kia K7 (+81.3%) is dropped out of the Top 10, the Genesis G80 (+128.8%) enjoys a new generation boost lifting the nameplate to its highest ranking since January 2018 (#12) and largest volume since November 2016. For its part the Genesis GV80, the brand’s first SUV, continues to progress and hits new high marks at #13 and 4.324 sales. The Renault Samsung Captur makes a very shy entrance at #55 with just 19 sales. Over in the foreign models ranking, the Mercedes E-Class (-41.4%) reclaims the top spot it holds YTD off the BMW 5 Series (+87.6%) while the VW Tiguan rounds out the podium again. Below the Audi A6, Mercedes monopolises the rest of the Top 10, placing a total of 7 nameplates that include the GLC, CLA, CLS, S-Class and A-Class.

Previous month: South Korea March 2020: Hyundai Grandeur, Kia K5 and Samsung XM3 impress in market back up 9.6%

One year ago: South Korea April 2019: Hyundai Sonata (+55%) scores first podium in 1.5 years in market down -6.6%

Full April 2020 Top 30 All-brands, Top 56 All local models and Top 10 foreign models below.

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