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South Korea July 2021: Kia topples Hyundai for the first time in market off -8.5%

The new gen Sportage helps lift Kia to the brands pole position in July.

The effect of the microchip shortage and the idling of some factories as a result make themselves felt in South Korea in July with a market down -8.5% year-on-year to 147.901 units. This brings the year-to-date volume down -3.3% to 1.049.762. Only local manufacturers are affected this month again at -13% to 123.512 units whereas foreign carmakers soar 23.3% to 24.389. The situation is similar year-to-date with domestic automakers down -6.6% to 877.616 and foreigners up 16.3% to 172.146.

There’s an earthquake atop the South Korean brands ranking this month: for what we believe is the first time in history, Kia (+3%) bucks the negative trend to become the most popular at home with 32.6% share vs. 31.1% so far this year. Sister brand Hyundai (-25.2%) is hit full frontal by the microchip shortage and the temporary closure of its Asan plant, and is toppled to 2nd place with 32.4% share vs. 34.4% year-to-date. Genesis (+7.5%) manages a sturdy uptick to easily remain in third place above two very dynamic foreigners:  Mercedes (+35.8%) and BMW (+57.8%). Next are the remaining three domestic brands all in dire straits: Ssangyong (-15.7%), Renault Samsung (-21.3%) and GM Korea (-30.1%). Honda (+153.5%), Jeep (+144.6%), Rolls Royce (+66.7%), Lamborghini (+41.7%), Mini (+38.3%), Lexus (+37.1%), Toyota (+32.9%), Bentley (+17.5%) and Audi (+12%) all shine below.

Over in the domestic models ranking, the Hyundai Porter (-4%) takes the lead both for the month and year-to-date, as previous YTD leader the Hyundai Grandeur (-63.5%) implodes to #7 in July and is down to its lowest monthly volume since September 2019, before the launch of the current generation. The Kia Sorento (-33.2%) is up three spots on June to #2 with the remainder of the Top 5 solely composed of Kia models: the K8 (+121.3%), K5 (-31.7%) and Carnival (+165.8%). Reversely the Hyundai Avante (-51.2%) is in complete freefall, as are the Santa Fe (-28.8%) and Sonata (-28.8%) further down. The Hyundai Staria is the best-selling recent launch (<12 months), staying at #12 and distancing the Genesis GV70 (#14) and Hyundai Ioniq 5 (#16). The Kia Sportage (+142.1%), Hyundai Tucson (+135.6%) and Kia K3 (+111.6%) are lifted by new generations for the former two and a facelift for the latter.

In the foreign models ranking, the Mercedes E-Class (-13.1%) reclaims the top spot it holds year-to-date ahead of the BMW 5 Series (-11.3%) with the Mercedes S-Class (+168.4%) landing on the podium thanks to a stellar year-on-year gain. The BMW 6 Series (+245%), X5 (+110.9%), Audi A6 (+82.8%) and BMW 3 Series (+61%) also shine in the remainder of the Top 10. Further down, the Volvo S90 (+814.7%), BMW X6 (+324%), Jeep Wrangler (+304.1%), BMW X7 (+151.8%), Mercedes GLE (+127%) and Audi Q5 (+111.3%) stand out.

Previous month: South Korea June 2021: Hyundai Ioniq 5 up to #15 in market down -21%

One year ago: South Korea July 2020: Hyundai, Genesis, VW Group stun in 5th straight positive month

Full July 2021 Top 30 All-brands, Top 60 All local models and Top 50 foreign models below.

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