Foreign brands stay hot with record April sales
A total of 13,320 foreign cars were newly registered in April, 24.9 percent more than a year earlier.
The previous record was set in November, when 12,470 imported cars were sold.
Germans again dominated the April best-seller list, with BMW selling 2,719 units, followed by Mercedes-Benz (2,324), Volkswagen (2,206) and Audi (1,723).
Volkswagen Korea said its April sales volume was the highest since the company started business in 2005.
BMW’s popular midsize sedan 520d was the top-selling model (792) followed by the Mercedes Benz E300 (616) and E220 CDI (527).
The popularity of diesel and fuel-efficient engines continued.
Of imported cars sold last month, 53.1 percent have 2.0-liter or smaller engines; diesel-fueled cars accounted for 59.9 percent.
In the first four months of 2013, 48,284 foreign vehicles were sold in Korea, a 20.9 percent year-on-year increase.
The situation is not nearly so bright for Korean automakers, with the top five selling 118,829 units in April, a mere 1.24 percent increase from a year earlier.
And for the January-April period, they sold 440,249 units, 1.6 percent lower than the same period in 2012.
“Because of each brands’ aggressive promotion, such as at the Seoul Motor Show, and securing enough product volume, more imported cars were registered than the previous month,” said Yoon Dae-sung, executive managing director at Kaida.
To further boost sales, foreign brands are offering various promotions this month, but among them, Japanese carmakers are moving particularly aggressively on the back of a weak yen.
Toyota Korea, which took fifth in April sales, on Monday said it will offer a 3 million won ($2,700) discount on the Prius, Camry and Camry Hybrid this month.
The warranty on hybrid batteries is also extended to 10 years or 200,000 kilometers (124,274 miles).
“Considering the 1.4 million won acquisition tax exemption on hybrids, consumers can actually get a 4.4 million won discount,” said a Toyota Korea spokesman.
Honda Korea also said that it will give 1 million to 1.5 million won worth of coupons to buyers of the Accord, while the Civic Euro and CR-Z will be discounted 3 million won and 5 million won, respectively.
By Joo Kyung-don [email@example.com]