There is no recession in the South Korean imported car industry. Imported cars priced at more than 100 million won (US$93,703) accounted for over 10 percent of the total imported car sales for the first time in eight years after 10.71 percent in 2009.
According to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) on March 7, the number of newly registered foreign vehicles totaled 233,088 last year and the number of imported cars with a price tag of more than 100 million won (US$93,703) came to 23,821, accounting for 10.22 percent of the total sales.
The high-end model boom in the domestic imported car industry was driven by Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The two automakers sold 11,460 and 7,142 cars priced over 100 million won (US$93,703), respectively, last year. They accounted for nearly 80 percent of the total sales of foreign cars whose prices are more than 100 million won (US$93,703). Eight out of 10 imported cars with a price tag of over 100 million won (US$93,703) sold in South Korea were either Mercedes-Benz or BMW.
Mercedes-Benz Korea posted 3.79 trillion won (US$3.55 billion) in sales and 114.3 billion won (US$107.11 million) in operating profits in 2016. The company sold 56,343 cars in 2016 and 68,861 in 2017. It sold 11,460 cars priced at more than 100 million won (US$93,703) so it turned over 1.15 trillion won (US$1.07 billion) with the high-end models alone.
BMW Korea sold 48,459 cars in 2016, recording 3.1 trillion won (US$2.9 billion) of sales and 6.4 billion won (US$5.99 million) of operating profits. The company sold 59,624 cars last year. It had an estimated sales of some 700 billion won (US$655 million) from models priced at more than 100 million won (US$93,703) alone.
Mercedes-Benz and BMW are the two biggest player in the 100 million won (US$93,703) imported car market, followed by Land Rover with sales of 2,882, Porsche with sales of 929 and Jaguar with sales of 607.