Hyundai and Kia still king of the road
According to data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Thursday, 19.4 million vehicles were registered as of Dec. 31, up 2.8 percent from 2012.
The Transport Ministry expects car registrations to pass 20 million vehicles in the first half of next year. For 2013, registrations in the government database, which includes used cars, increased by 530,000.
Among the 19,400,864 vehicles registered, local brands accounted for 95.4 percent at 18,499,250. Korea’s top two automakers, Hyundai and Kia, combined for 75.8 percent of the market with 14,018,331 units.
Hyundai’s Sonata midsize sedan (1.64 million) and Avante compact (1.4 million) are the most popular cars, and among the top 10, eight are Hyundai or Kia.
However, ministry data shows Hyundai-Kia dominance may have peaked, as sales of imports are rising.
So far, 901,614 registered vehicles were made outside Korea, and 166,209 new registrations last year were foreign cars.
In contrast, new domestic car registration last year fell 1.2 percent year-on-year to 1.38 million, with Hyundai dropping 2.7 percent and Kia slipping 4.4 percent.
GM Korea and Ssangyong Motor were the only two local automakers to see an increase in new registrations.
Among the 901,613 foreign cars registered in Korea, four German brands - BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Audi - accounted for 53.3 percent.
Among super luxury cars, ministry data showed there were 482 Ferraris, 175 Lamborghinis, 130 Maybachs and 155 Rolls-Royces registered.
Meanwhile, the ministry said there were more than 3.3 million car ownership changes in 2013, which includes used car sales and donations, up 2.8 percent from a year ago.
Hyundai’s Sonata remained the most traded car last year in terms of volume, but ownership changes on Kia’s city car Morning grew 15 percent year-on-year, the highest percentage increase of any model.
Last year, there were 1.02 million cases involving cancellations of vehicle registrations, which usually occurs when scrapping a car, down 7.8 percent from 2012.
The ministry speculated that because of the sluggish economy and enhanced durability of newer cars, many Koreans were simply hanging onto their rides.
BY JOO KYUNG-DON [firstname.lastname@example.org]