* See the Top 30 brands, Top 60 local models and Top 85 foreigners by clicking on the title *
New car sales in South Korea edge up 2% year-on-year in May to 157.433 registrations, with foreign carmakers solely responsible for this month’s gain as they soar 23% to 23.770 units and 15.1% share just as local manufacturers edge down 1% to 133.663. The year-to-date picture is identical with an overall market up a shy 2% to 747.509, foreigners up 24% to 117.098 and 15.7% share and locals down 1% to 630.411. In the brands ranking, Hyundai drops 4% to 36.3% share whereas sister company Kia gains 8% to 29.9%. Ssangyong is down 5% to 6.2% share but remains in third place while GM Korea sinks 35% but rallies back up 3 spots on April to #4 and Renault Samsung dives 20% year-on-year and one rank on last month to #5. It is the first time since last November that the Big 5 Korean carmakers hold the Top 5 spots at home.
Mercedes (+15%) remains the most popular foreign manufacturer but is down two spots on April to #6 ahead of BMW (+3%) down one to #6. Genesis surges 249% year-on-year but is stuck at #8, while Volkswagen returns to the Korean Top 10 for the first time sine June 2016 after a stop sale order brought its deliveries to standstill. Toyota (+71%) rounds up the Top 10 just above Audi, also back on deck after stop sales, Land Rover (+79%) and Lexus (+18%) all frankly outpacing the market. Further down, Peugeot (+43%) and Volvo (+31%) impress but the majority of other carmakers fall heavily, with Bentley (-72%), Honda (-47%), Citroen (-40%), Infiniti (-35%), Mini (-35%), Cadillac (-32%), Jaguar (-28%) and Nissan (-28%) the hardest hit.
Model-wise, the Hyundai Santa Fe enjoys a third consecutive month as the best-selling vehicle at home, a feat it hadn’t managed since 2004, but its domination seems like it will be ending imminently, with the gap over the #2, the Hyundai Grandeur (still #1 YTD), reducing from 1.933 units in April to just 232 this month. The Hyundai Porter (-7%) and Kia Carnival (+30%) hold onto their April ranking at #3 and #4 respectively, with the Hyundai Avante (-16%) returning to the Top 5 ahead of the Kia Sorento (+1%) and Hyundai Sonata (-27%). The recently facelifted Kia K3 soars 123% year-on-year but drops four ranks on April to #9, the Ssangyong Korando Sports is up 131% and 6 ranks to hit its highest ranking in at least 6 years at #11, toppling the Tivoli to become Ssangyong’s best-seller at home for the first time since November 2014. The Samsung Clio, launched last month, leaps up 20 spots to #35 with 756 sales.
From this month onwards all our monthly South Korean updates will include a detailed ranking of the best-selling foreign models with one month delay. So this month we can share with you April 2018 data that sees the BMW 5 Series snaps the top spot for the first time this year with just under 3.400 sales, a score that would see it leap to #14 in an all-models ranking. It is followed by the 2017 and 2018YTD leader the Mercedes E-Class while the Audi A6 shoots up 45 spots on March to land on the third step of the podium as sales are now allowed in the country. The Mercedes C-Class is up one rank to #4, exchanging positions with its archenemy, the BMW 3 Series and both overtaking the Toyota Camry down 3 to #6. Another revenant, the VW Passat GT breaks into the Top 10 at #7 (+7), with the Ford Explorer, Lexus ES and Mercedes GLC rounding up the Top 10. Other great performers include the Volvo XC60 at #13, the BMW X4 at #17, Toyota Prius C at #21, Volvo XC90 at #29 and Jeep Cherokee at #32. The Range Rover Velar (#41) leads newcomers.
Full May 2018 Top 30 brands, Top 60 local models and April 2018 Top 85 foreigners below.