When you look at the Korean market, you soon see something is amiss. When people are offered choice, unhindered by government intervention, then many brands will do well. Import duties among other things create imbalanced sales. That is what has happened in Korea. It wants to export, but not import, an attitude seen across Asia. To see what I mean, below shows passenger car sales for 2011, market share and percentage change:
1 Hyundai 499,043
2 Kia 436,672
3 GM Daewoo 127,697
4 Samsung 109,221
5 Ssangyong 38,651
Imports are making inroads, a positive trend that looks likely to continue. Still, most imports are premium models, not everyday hacks. Therefore, it must be an incredibly boring place to buy a basic car if all you can consider is a few local models. I recently tested a Hyundai i20, and cars don't come any more ordinary than that one does. Zzzzz.
In summary: Hopefully one day more imports and better selection of fairly priced cars for Korean buyers.