The sales of imported automobiles in March exceeded 20,000 units, recording the highest number in history. With this trend, it is expected that annual sales would exceed the 220,000 units originally forecast by the imported automobile industry, and possibly reach even up to 250,000 units.
The Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) said on April 6 that 22,280 imported vehicles were registered in March, 41.6 percent higher than those of the same month last year. This is the first time for monthly imported automobiles to surpass 20,000 units.
The offensives of imported vehicles will become stronger this year. The accumulated sales units for the first quarter of the year recorded a total of 58,969 units, up 32.7 percent from the same period a year ago, due to the largest-ever monthly sales recorded in March. With this, imported automobiles accounted for 17.4 percent of the total domestic automobile market (excluding commercial vehicles), increasing 3.5 percent from 13.9 percent in the first quarter last year.
The share of local manufacturers in the domestic vehicle market shrunk to 82.6 percent from 86.1 percent because of the offensives of imported vehicles, even though the number of their sales cars increased. In particular, the automobile market share of Hyundai and Kia Motors came to only 62.0 percent, threatening the 60 percent line. Hyundai and Kia Motors, which used to have 80 percent of the domestic market, lost their commanding position and found themselves chasing imported brands.
By brand, BMW won back the first place, which Mercedes-Benz had kept from January to February, with 4,003 units sold. It was followed by Audi with 3,895 units, Mercedes-Benz with 3,639, and Volkswagen with 3,264.
The best-selling model was the Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI Bluemotion with sales of 1,046 units. It was the highest monthly sales figures in history since the model was launched. It was also 54.8 percent higher than last year's monthly average sales (675.5 units), which won first place in the annual best-selling model list last year. It was followed by the Audi A635 TDI with 2,253 units, and the Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI with 1,885.
Meanwhile, a total of 338,813 domestic and imported automobiles (excluding commercial vehicles) were sold in the first quarter, up 6.3 percent from a year ago.