In January 2013, foreign car makers’ market share in Korea surpassed the 10% mark for the first time in history to spook their local counterparts. In particular, Hyundai and Kia are closely watching the premium car market being led by German brands, such as BMW, Mercedes Benz and Audi, in that the sales of its profitable models like the Equus, Grandeur and Genesis may be jeopardized. “The German brands’ combined market share is slightly over 10% in terms of the sales volume but has topped 15% as far as the turnover is concerned,” said an executive at Hyundai.
The German automakers are increasingly pulling ahead of the other countries’ car manufacturers doing business in the Korean market, too. During the first month of this year, a total of 9,441 imported cars were sold locally, 2,347 by BMW, 1,330 by Mercedes Benz, 1,148 by Audi and 1,119 by Volkswagen. The four companies accounted for 62.9% of the monthly sales, 6.6 percentage points higher than the figure recorded in 2010.