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South Korea August 2020: BMW (+69%), Genesis (+54.2%) defy first post-pandemic sales drop (-3.5%)

The BMW X4 breaks into the foreigner Top 10 in August.

The post-pandemic rebound is over in South Korea with new car sales ending five consecutive months of year-on-year gains in August at -3.5% to 131.876 units vs. +41.2% in June and +9.2% in July. Local manufacturers are down -7.2% to 117.234 but foreigners can’t compensate that loss despite a 20.8% surge to 21.894 units. The year-to-date tally is now up 6.2% to 1.226.434 units, including 1.049.274 locals (+4.8%) and 169.908 foreigners (+15.7%). As a result of this shift to negative territory we have revised our 2020 South Korea forecast down from 1.96 million (+9%) a month ago to 1.92 million sales (+7%).

Atop the brands charts, Both Hyundai (-5.4%) and Kia (-11.4%) both fall faster than their home market, adding up to 60.5% share vs. 65.7% so far in 2020. The hero of the month is BMW soaring 69% year-on-year and 5 spots on July to third overall, toppling Genesis (+54.2%) from the podium and overtaking Ssangyong (-15.5%), Renault Samsung (-21.5%), Mercedes (-10.5%) and GM Korea (-8%), with all the aforementioned brands losing share year-on-year. Recovering from a stop sale order last year, Audi (+886.3%) remains at #9 while Mini (+1.1%) is up 5 spots on July to #10. Porsche (+97.9%), Honda (+74.6%), Lamborghini (+57.1%), Volkswagen (+50.1%), Rolls Royce (+21.4%), Lexus (+16.6%) and Ford (+16.2%) also impress with double-digit gains.

The Hyundai Grandeur (+85.6%) remains the most popular vehicle in the country, distancing the Hyundai Porter (+2.1%) and Santa Fe (-9.2%) while the Kia Sorento (+75.9%) surges ahead year-on-year but drops one spot on July to #4 and the Hyundai Avante (+18.4%) is down 3 to #5. The Genesis G80 (+98%), Hyundai Palisade (+92.4%) and Kia Carnival (+17.6%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 10. The Genesis GV80 remains the best-selling recent launch but drops 7 spots to #21, now ranking just above the Chevrolet Trailblazer (#22) and Samsung XM3 (#23). We welcome the Renault Samsung Zoe at #56 with 8 sales.

The BMW 5 Series (+14.8%) topples the Mercedes E-Class (-40%) to become the best-selling foreign model in South Korea for the month, while far below the Mercedes A-Class, GLE and Audi A6 round out the Top 4. The BMW X3, X4, X5 and Mercedes G-Class also make their appearance in the Top 10.

Previous month: South Korea July 2020: Hyundai (+18.7%), Genesis (+168%), VW Group (+381.7%) stun in 5th straight positive month (+9.2%)

One year ago: South Korea August 2019: Kia Seltos breaks into Top 5 in market down -6.1%

Full August 2020 Top 30 All-brands, Top 57 All local models and Top 10 foreign models below.

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