Kia, Hyundai market share shrinks
While German cars thrive locally, market dominance by the nation’s two largest automakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, continues to dwindle.
Market experts say the Korean carmakers’ lessening share in the domestic auto industry is because of the weak influence of their new models and their largest annual problem - labor strikes - as well as a growing preference for imported brands.
According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), Hyundai and Kia’s combined market share fell to 67.3 percent last month. This is not only a 1.1 percentage drop from the previous month and 1.3 percentage points less than a year earlier, it is the lowest record since hitting an all-time slump of 66.7 percent in December.
At the current pace, it is very likely that the automakers will fail to even reach an annual market share of 70 percent by the end of the year.
In recent years, the automakers have dominated the market with between 70 percent and 80 percent.
But Hyundai Motor’s decline has been much steeper than Kia’s.
Hyundai’s slice of the market has been weakening for five consecutive months after reaching 44.6 percent in April. Last month, that figure dropped to 37.2 percent.
Other than its flagship midsize Sonata sedan and high-end Genesis, sales of other Hyundai Motor’s models have suffered a significant decline.
In the first nine months of this year, the Sonata enjoyed a 17.7 percent year-on-year increase to 80,414 units, while the Genesis reported near 200 percent growth to 27,596 units during the same period.
Most of Hyundai Motor’s models suffered a two-digit decline. Its small-size Avante sedan suffered the lowest drop as it sales diminished only 6.4 percent year-on-year.
The Accent saw its sales dip 24.4 percent while the i30 also saw a similar decline to 26.8 percent. The company’s three-door Veloster saw sales plummet 43.2 percent, while i40 sales decreased 53.7 percent.
Although the accumulated sales of the company’s flagship Sonata rose compared to a year ago, these figures have also been tumbling sharply in recent months.
When the LF Sonata, Hyundai Motor’s most popular model, first came out in April, it sold more than 12,000 units. But last month’s figures fell to 4,000 units, marking a drop to one third of its earlier sales in just six months.
As purchases of the previously popular model spiraled downwards, the automaker introduced a taxi version of the LF Sonata last month, which improved overall Sonata sales slightly.
The situation for Kia Motor, on the contrary, has improved in the last couple of months. Although its market share fell to 25.4 percent in June, sales have bounced back since then to 30.1 percent as of September.
In contrast with Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, imported brands are showing an aggressive sales increase. Their market share last month remained above 15 percent, a significant jump compared to the end of last year when they stood at 12 percent.
There’s even speculation that, under the current momentum, imported car sales will easily surpass the 200,000 unit mark for the first time by the end of the year.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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