SEOUL, Sept.11(Korea Bizwire) – German automakers continue to maintain their stronghold in the South Korean import car market, and this dominance extends to the realm of electric vehicle (EV) sales as well.
Recent import vehicle registration data from the Korea Association of Imported Automobile Manufacturers (KAIDA) released on Sunday reveals a substantial uptick in the number of imported electric vehicles sold in the domestic market from January to August of this year.
The figures show a remarkable increase of 54.8 percent compared to the same period last year, with a total of 15,084 EVs sold, as opposed to 9,744 last year.
Conversely, during this same period, sales of imported internal combustion engines have seen a noticeable decline. Gasoline-powered vehicle sales dropped by 5.6 percent, decreasing from 89,773 to 85,810 units, while diesel vehicle sales experienced an even steeper decline of 30.3, falling from 22,787 to 15,873 units.
Notably, brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Chevrolet have witnessed an increase in their EV sales in South Korea when comparing this year’s January to August period to the same timeframe last year. Among these, all are German except for Chevrolet, which is American.
Of these five brands, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche have shown the most significant growth in EV sales. It’s worth noting that a direct comparison is somewhat complex because Volkswagen did not have any EV sales from January to July last year, and Chevrolet didn’t record any EV sales from January to March.
Mercedes-Benz and BMW, two major players in the domestic import car industry, have emerged as fierce competitors in the Korean EV market, substantially contributing to the overall sales of imported EVs.
Mercedes-Benz has been aggressively promoting its EQ series of electric vehicles in Korea, resulting in cumulative EV sales of 5,545 units from January to August of this year. This represents an astonishing 185.7 percent increase from the same period last year when only 1,941 units were sold.
Notably, Mercedes-Benz outpaced Tesla, which exclusively sells electric vehicles, by nearly 1,000 units (Tesla reported sales of 4,546 vehicles).
In the same timeframe, BMW sold 4,337 electric vehicles in South Korea, marking an impressive 92 percent increase compared to last year (2,259 units). It’s worth mentioning that this figure excludes sales of BMW subsidiary MINI (545 units).
BMW’s electric vehicles are the only imports in South Korea to benefit from subsidized charging infrastructure (200,000 won), as the company has been actively expanding its own charging facilities throughout the country.
An industry insider commented on this trend, stating, “The German brands, which have traditionally dominated the Korean market with their diesel sedans, are now increasing their sales of EV models in response to the global industry’s shift toward electrification.
Their reputation as luxury brands with relatively lower consumer price resistance also plays a pivotal role in selling EVs, despite their higher price tags.