German carmaker Mercedes-Benz recorded the third-highest sales figure in the country in September, after Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, outpacing three major local carmakers, according to industry data.
According to data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, a total of 118,895 vehicles were sold in September, an increase of about 8.9 percent from the previous month.
A promotional image of 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Of them, Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Motors accounted for the largest market share at 66.9 percent, respectively selling 40,982 and 39,480 vehicles.
Germany’s Mercedes-Benz saw the third-largest figure in the industry, having sold 7,707 vehicles, representing a jump of about 296.7 percent on-year and its highest figure since March last year. Its market share came at 6.5 percent as of September.
Industry insiders attributed the German carmaker’s high sales to negative public sentiment against Japanese car brands since July in connection with a trade dispute between South Korea and Japan.
Earlier this year, the situation was the opposite: Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus saw record-high sales of its hybrid cars, while German diesel cars were negatively affected by scandals related to the rigging of diesel exhaust tests as well as a series of engine fires.
The country’s three other major carmakers -- Renault Samsung, Ssangyong Motors and GM Korea -- ranked fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in September. Renault Samsung sold 7,311 vehicles, Ssangyong Motors sold 7,275 and GM Korea sold 4,643. BMW came in seventh with 4,249.
Data also showed that Mercedes-Benz’s E300 sedan was the bestselling imported car in the last month at 1,883 vehicles, while the E300 4Matic came in at third with 1,219. The price of an E-Class sedan averages 70 million won ($58,710).
Meanwhile, Japanese car brands including Honda, Toyota and Nissan sold a combined 634 vehicles last month, a sharp decline of 74 percent from 2,431 vehicles a year ago. Only Lexus posted a positive sales figure of 469 vehicles, an increase of about 50 percent on-year.
Over the same period, German car brands including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi Volkswagen saw a 62.7 percent increase in sales, having collectively sold 14,297 vehicles.
By Kim Da-sol/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)