Korea's 'Big 4' grab 66.4% of import car market

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Amid the rapid growth of the import car industry, the sales gap between the top four German brands and other players widened over the past year, according to the October data of a lobby group for foreign automakers.

The four major German carmakers - BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Audi - captured 66.4 percent of the local import automobile market last month among 24 members of the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association.

The top four brands' combined market share climbed 5.3 percentage points from 61.1 percent a year earlier.

BMW topped the list with 22.08 percent, followed by Volkswagen with 16.43 percent, Mercedes-Benz with 16.29 percent and Audi with 11.59 percent.

In contrast, 11 of the 24 import brands, such as Volvo and Cadillac, saw their market share stay below 1 percent.

Volvo saw its market share fall from 1.53 percent to 0.97 percent on a year-on-year basis, Infiniti from 1.43 percent to 0.74 percent and Jaguar from 1.13 percent to 0.78 percent.

"Though import brands have been reporting brisk performance, some companies are suffering a continuous drop in monthly sales," said an executive in the industry.

Meanwhile, the 24 brands' combined sales came to 12,019 units in October, up 46 percent from a year before.

Further, their sales for the first 10 months of 2012 surpassed 100,000 units (107,725 units), compared with 87,928 units over the same period last year, the KAIDA data showed.

The best-selling model was the BMW 520d with sales of 744 units in October, trailed by Mercedes-Benz E330 with 623 units and Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI BlueMotion with 506 units.

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