High-end models represent quarter of new imports

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High-end models represent quarter of new imports

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Honda’s new Legend finally arrived in Seoul on Monday. Provided by the company

One of every four imported cars purchased by Koreans last year was priced at 70 million won ($63,600) or more.

A report by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (Kaida) that looked into 196,359 newly registered cars found that sales of cars that surpassed 70 million won were up 3.9 percent from 2013.

The trend was especially pronounced in the premium segment of 150 million won and up. Kaida said 5,616 cars in that price range were newly registered last year, a 92.1 percent jump from 2013 and the biggest growth of any segment.

Bentley sales, for instance, increased 96.3 percent year-on-year to 322 units in 2014. The base price for the company’s best-selling Flying Spur sedan is 252 million won.

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Cars priced 70 million won to 100 million won represented the second-biggest growth segment, increasing 56.1 percent to 33,778 from 21,632 the previous year. The report said the percentage of cars in that price range increased from 13.8 to 17.1 percent.

Sales of cars priced from 100 million won to 150 million won also increased by 12.5 percent, from 8,320 to 9,360 units. But sales of imported cars slipped from 5.3 percent to 4.8 percent.

The data obviously shows that foreign brands are riding high in the country as popular cars in the price range between 30 million won and 40 million won also increased by 34.7 percent, or from 34,864 in 2013 to 46,925 units registered last year. The share of new registrations in the segment increased from 22.3 percent to 23.9 percent.

Cars priced 40 million won to 50 million won also increased by 10.2 percent, or from 31,989 to 35,250 units sold.

“Since the number of consumers who want to buy rare cars that not many people can afford is increasing, the premium car market is expanding quickly in the country,” said a spokesman of Kaida.

BY KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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