SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean vehicles lag behind imported cars in terms of quality, services and durability, a local market research firm said Tuesday.
In a recent survey of 96,123 owners and potential buyers, a majority of them chose imported cars over domestic ones in product quality, after-sale services and durability despite high maintenance costs, according to Consumer Insight.
“In general, compact and price-competitive vehicles are more cost effective than large ones,” said a Consumer Insight official. “But compact-sized domestic cars with an average price tag of 30.8 million won (US$28,000) are less preferred by (some) Korean consumers than larger-size expensive imported cars with an average price tag of 61.3 million won.”
Consumers pointed out that domestic vehicles lag far behind imported rivals in terms of durability, among others. They picked repair services offered by domestic carmakers as the only sector which is as satisfactory as repair services provided by foreign car brands, the official said.
Lexus vehicles, being sold under Toyota Motor Corp.’s independent luxury brand, topped others in after-sale services, initial quality and durability, the research firm said.
“Imported vehicles currently account for about 15 percent of the country’s passenger car markets. The share is expected to grow further as the appetite for imported car brands among local consumers is growing,” he said.
In the January-October period, imported car sales rose 2.5 percent to 190,394 vehicles from 185,801 units a year earlier, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.