Luxury imports fly off the lot driven by pandemic spending
Two out of 10 imported vehicles sold in Korea this year were luxury cars costing over 100 million won ($84,300).
A total of 252,242 new imported cars were registered this year through November in Korea, up 3.6 percent on-year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
Of them, 59,435 were luxury cars priced at over 100 million won. That's up 37 percent on year and was 23 percent of imports sold during the period.
A total of 43,020 cars were priced between 100 million won and 150 million won, a 33 percent increase on year, 16,415 cost over 150 million won, up 51 percent on year, and 82,935 cost between 50 million won and 70 million won, the most popular range.
Imported cars priced between 70 million won and 100 million won were the second most popular choice, with around 50,890 units sold. Only 5,289 imports selling for under 30 million won were sold.
The most popular brand in the 100-million-won-to-150-million-won range was Mercedes-Benz. A total of 15,408 of them were sold. BMW was No. 2, at 14,914, followed by Porsche, at 5,856.
For cars costing more than 150 million won, Mercedes-Benz was No. 1 followed by BMW at No. 2 and Porsche in the third spot.
A total of 484 Bentleys were sold this year, up 91.3 percent on year. The number of Porsches sold rose 15.3 percent, while Automobili Lamborghini sales increased 14.9 percent on year.
"Luxury imported cars have become especially popular this year as more people tend to splurge on cars after the pandemic," said Kim Pil-soo, an automotive engineering professor at Daelim University.
"The imported car market is likely to grow further next year," Kim added. "More consumers will seek imported cars as Hyundai Motor and Kia are heavily affected by the shortage of auto semiconductors, while Renault Samsung Motors, SsangYong Motors and Chevrolet are facing problems with their manufacturing systems."
BY HAN YOUNG-HYE, SARAH CHEA [firstname.lastname@example.org]