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South Korea September 2020: Kia Carnival hits volume record in surging market (+20.8%)

The new generation boosts Kia Carnival sales to record levels.

After a small slip-up last month (-3.5%), new car sales in South Korea resume their pandemic-defying surge with September volumes up by a fantastic 20.8% year-on-year to 160.189 including 138.350 (+23.1%) for local carmakers and 21.839 (+13.6%) for foreigners. The year-to-date tally now stands at 1.379.371 units (+7.7%) including 1.178.624 locals (+6.6%) and 191.747 foreigners (+14.8%). This fantastic rebound in September pushes us to adjust our 2020 South Korea forecast up from 1.92 million sales (+7) a month ago to 1.98 million now (+11%), keeping in mind the 30% consumer tax cut will remain valid for cars up to December, potentially unleashing a pull-forward of sales during the last Quarter.

Genesis (+187.5%) is back to #3 brand at home.

Market behemoths Hyundai (+22%) and Kia (+21.9%) give the market its growth rate as they represent a discouraging 67.5% of all September new car sales in South Korea. Genesis (+187.5%) climbs back onto the podium to the third place it holds year-to-date with a splendid 6.4% share vs. 5.6% so far this year. Ssangyong (+10.4%) and GM Korea both trail the market but are up one and three spots on August respectively to round out the Top 5. Renault Samsung (-24.1%) vastly underperforms this month. Still #1 foreign brand by far, Mercedes (-22.7%) is however struggling YoY. It distances BMW (+24.1%), Audi (+26.7%) and Mini (+7.5%) while Volkswagen (+401.1%), Porsche (+175.4%), Ford (+68.1%), Lexus (+49.5%), Honda (+47%) and Toyota (+36.6%) impress further down.

The Hyundai Grandeur remains the best-selling vehicle in South Korea.

Incredibly, the Top 9 local models all gain at least 75% year-on-year. The Hyundai Grandeur (+140.8%) remains the best-seller at home while the Kia Carnival (+162.8%) is boosted by the new generation, soaring 4 spots on last month to #2 overall and securing its first ever 5-digit monthly volume at 10.130 (previous best was 9.343 in July 2014). Kia reports 32.000 orders for the new Carnival. The Kia Sorento (+144.5%) closes a surreal podium ahead of the Hyundai Avante (+86.4%) and Porter (+76.6%) while the Kia K5 (+188%) continues to ride on the success of the new model. The Genesis G80 (+303.7%), Hyundai Palisade (+126.2%) and Kia Bongo (+82%) also sport stunning upticks just as the Genesis GV80 returns inside the Top 20 at #16. The Mercedes E-Class (-38.8%) reclaims the #1 foreigner spot off the BMW 5 Series (-49.5%) this month.

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

One year ago: South Korea September 2019: Hyundai Santa Fe back to #1, Kia Seltos up to #4, Mercedes up 4-fold in market up 4.1%

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

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