[THE INVESTOR] BMW Korea, the local unit of the German luxury automaker, aims to win back the No. 1 position in the imported car industry here, by rolling out the much-anticipated New 5 series in February.
“The market is very enthusiastic toward the New 5-series, which has already commenced preorders,” BMW Korea CEO Kim Hyo-joon said in an interview with the Korea Economic Daily on Jan. 10.
BMW's upcoming 5 Series sedan
“I am planning to visit the German headquarters this month to secure supplies, in addition to the 15,000 units already ordered.”
Kim’s ambition comes after BMW Korea last year lost the coveted No. 1 spot to its German rival Mercedes-Benz for the first time in eight years.
In 2016, BMW sold 48,459 units, up 1.2 percent on-year, to rank the second among all foreign automakers. Mercedes-Benz sold 56,343 units to take the crown.
“Last year, BMW grew in Korea even without a new model, when the imported car industry as a whole stumbled,” he said.
When asked about possibility of heading BMW Korea for another three years, Kim drew the line, saying nothing has been decided.
“At BMW Korea and the German headquarters, there are many superb colleagues. I am mulling whether my reappointment will be a good decision for both BMW Korea and my colleagues,” he said.
Kim is a BMW veteran who became the CEO in 2000, the first Korean to take the helm of the local unit. Under his tenure, the German automaker led the stellar growth of the nation’s imported car market. His term ends in February.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)