SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — Sales of luxury cars in South Korea exceed those of richer countries, industry data showed Sunday.
Numbers provided by foreign carmakers and the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) showed South Koreans bought more new BMW 5-series and Mercedes-Benz E-class cars than Germans and neighbors in Japan from late last year to early 2017.
Data also showed demand for top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz S-class and those made by Rolls-Royce with price tags in the hundreds of millions of won range sold very well here.
The local unit of German carmaker BMW said South Korea is the second-largest market for its new 5-series cars after the United States.
It said in September alone it sold 3,200 of its 5-series mid-size executive cars here compared to 3,600 for the U.S. market, that has far more people and is the world’s largest economy.
Numbers of such cars sold in Asia’s fourth-largest economy exceed those of Britain, Germany and Japan.
KAIDA said Mercedes-Benz sold 5,606 cars last month, which placed it as the best-selling foreign car brand in South Korea for four straight months.
In the January-June period, South Korean consumers purchased some 37,723 Mercedes cars of all models, placing it fifth after China, the United States, Germany and Britain but ahead of Italy, Japan and France.
In particular, demand for the E-class cars in South Korea exceeded those in Germany during the first half of this year.
Industry watchers said that besides the big-name German luxury cars, sales of supercars made by Rolls-Royce and Ferrari all surged recently.
Sales of Ferrari’s that stood at around 50 units per year just five years ago shot up to 120 last year. The cheapest Ferrari model cost 290 million won (US$256,000).
Demand for Rolls-Royce cars, which cost a minimum 490 million won here, rose at a fast pace, with the local sales office making clear that South Korea has become the fastest market for the brand in the Asia-Pacific region.