SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — German carmaker BMW ranked No. 1 among imported cars registered in South Korea, industry data showed Monday, maintaining its lead despite a string of vehicle fires that have shaken consumer confidence in the brand.
According to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association, there were 389,566 BMW vehicles registered in the country as of July, accounting for 19 percent of all foreign-made cars.
The German carmaker has been facing challenges in the South Korean market after dozens of its cars caught fire. BMW has blamed defects in the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) for the fires.
Mercedes-Benz came in second with 382,360 units registered, slightly below BMW by accounting for 18.8 percent.
With the two carmakers’ gap estimated at only around 7,000 units, industry watchers said Mercedes-Benz may soon take the throne from BMW.
Other German carmakers followed, with Volkswagen and Audi posting 174,557 units and 161,528 units, respectively. The top-four German players accounted for more than half of the market at 54.4 percent.
Japan’s Lexus, a high-end line of Toyota, posted 101,046 units, with U.S. Ford taking up 83,480 units.
Renault Samsung Motors posted 77,900 units when only considering models produced overseas. Other popular brands were Honda, Chrysler and the Mini at 74,814, 62,612 and 60,720 units, respectively.
The number of registered imported cars also was above 2 million units for the first time in July by reaching 2.03 million units.
South Korean carmakers, meanwhile, far outpaced imported brands, with No. 1 player Hyundai Motor Co. posting 7.34 million units, trailed by its sister firm Kia Motors Corp. at 5.07 million units. GM Korea, Renault Samsung and SsangYong Motor trailed as at 1.54 million, 1.5 million, and 747,439 million units, respectively, as of July.