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South Korea September 2023: Kia Sorento scores first win, Hyundai Santa Fe up to #5

The Kia Sorento is the best-selling vehicle in South Korea for the first time.

The South Korean new light vehicle market dips -6.1% year-on-year in September to 129,243 sales, including 106,678 for domestic manufacturers (-6.1%) and 22,565 for foreigners (-5.7%). The year-to-date tally remains in clear positive at +6.3% to 1,285,984 including 1,088,227 locals (+7.8%) and 197,741 foreigners (-1.2%). Hyundai (-4%) stays on top of the brands charts but drops to 35.1% share vs. 36.3% year-to-date, while Kia (+11%) is a strong second at 34.4% of the market vs. 33.2% so far this year. Genesis (-11.7%) is in difficulty in third place like BMW (-16.4%) in 4th. Mercedes (+27.2%) on the other hand is euphoric at #5. The next four manufacturers all fall heavily, with Renault Korea (-67.3%) the hardest hit followed by KG Mobility (-47%), GM Korea (-34.4%) and Audi (-21.9%). In contrast Volvo (+76.5%) stuns at #10 and Porsche (+108.7%) does even better at #12.

The new model lifts the Hyundai Santa Fe to #5.

In the domestic models ranking, the Kia Sorento (+91%) enjoys the benefits of its facelift to score its first ever monthly win at home, scoring its highest monthly volume since June 2020. The hybrid variant accounts for 63% of its volume for the month. As a result the Sorento is now up to #3 year-to-date. The Hyundai Grandeur (+75.7%) is relegated to 2nd place but cements its YTD leadership with almost 15,000 units more than the #2, the Hyundai Porter (-32%). Note Grandeur hybrids account for 57% of the nameplate’s sales this month. The Kia Sportage (+21.6%) is also in excellent shape at #4 while the Hyundai Santa Fe (+120.8%) is starting to take full advantage of its new generation, up 13 spots on last month to #5.

The BMW i7 is inside the Top 50 most popular foreign models in South Korea.

Over in the foreign models charts, the Tesla Model Y (+120.2%) dominates with over 4,200 sales and would even rank #10 in the complete models ranking including domestic fares. The Mercedes E-Class (+160.4%) is also in outstanding shape above 3,500 units with the Volvo XC60 (+1114.9%) posting surreal gains and the BMW 3 Series (+83.8%) also showing explosive growth. It’s a more muted result for the Mercedes GLE (-12.4%) down one rank on August to #5. The Audi A6 (+41.5%), BMW iX3 (+16.5%) and 6 Series (+4.2%) also post upticks in the remainder of the Top 10. We welcome the Toyota Alphard (#41) and BMW i7 (#45) inside the Top 50.

Previous month: South Korea August 2023: Hyundai and Grandeur back in charge in stable market

One year ago: South Korea September 2022: Ssangyong Torres up to #4, Hyundai Ioniq 6 in Top 20, sales up 22.6%

Full September 2023 Top 32 All brands, Top 56 All domestic models and Top 50 foreigners below.

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