The German-made BMW tops the number of imported vehicles registered in Korea, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association yesterday.
KAMA data for May showed that out of the total of 227,935 imported automobiles, BMW topped the list with 20.1 percent, or 45,864 cars, registered. Mercedes Benz came in second with 15.6 percent, or 35,634 cars.
Analysts said the data shows that the top performers are benefited not only by their brand power but also the fact that they entered the Korean auto market early. BMW started its dealership in Korea through the then Kolon Corp in March 1987, which is now maintained by Kolon Motors. Mercedes Benz, likewise, started its automobile sales in Korea in January 1987 through a local dealership, Hansung Motor, which still is in charge of the Mercedes' domestic sales. If only imported cars registered 10 years ago or before are counted, Mercedes Benz tops the list with 19.5 percent, or 6,943 cars, followed by BMW's 12.4 percent, or 5,701.
According to the May this year data, Toyota had 32,621 cars registered in the country for a 14.3 percent share. Daimler Chrysler had 19,369 cars, or 6.9 percent; Ford 16,446 cars, or 7.2 percent; and Audi 14,153 cars, or 6.2 percent.
Among the cars registered within the last three years, Toyota, whose Lexus sedans are have seen brisk sales recently, had the biggest number of registered cars with 17,063 units.
BMW, with 16,068 cars, came in second on the list after Toyota, followed by Mercedes Benz with 14,000 cars and Honda with 10,094 cars.
"Japanese cars' performance and design meet the Korean customers' needs," said Koo Hee-cheol, KAMA's public relations manager.
By Jeong Hyeon-ji