08 March 2015

Japan / Korea Brand Comparison 2014

JLR technician being up-skilled in Korea...or emailing his mum

I was wondering if this comparison was worth doing. In some respects my fears were realised but it confirms the vast chasm that exists between the countries. Before we look at that, the ratio difference is one car sale in Korea to 3.34 sales in Japan. Many more brands are sold in Japan so there was no point in listing so many non-existent comparisons. However, when it came to large local brands, I included them. The data is sourced from JAIA, JAMA and KAMA.

Mainstream: Kia and Ssangyong didn't sell in Japan and I wonder why Hyundai bothered, while four Japanese brands didn't have a buyer in Korea. The Chevrolet figure compares the Korean GM products that are made in Korea with Chevs from the US imported into Japan. A big difference there. Renault have Samsung in Korea which gives another monstrous disparity. The three Japanese makes sold in Korea provide little in the way of a fair comparison with the enormous sales they enjoy back home.

For the few foreign to both nations, Fiat and Citroën have a leaning to Japan but the other four Korea. Not much learnt there to talk about, except how two nations so close geographically are - in car buying terms - so far apart.

Brand Japan Korea Ratio

Kia 0 406,822 n/a

Ssangyong 0 69,036 n/a

Hyundai 13 508,526 0.00

Chevolet 946 147,104 0.01

Renault 4,662 80,003 0.06

Ford 4,598 8,718 0.53

Chrysler 8,410 5,244 1.60

Peugeot 5,710 3,118 1.83

VW 67,438 30,719 2.20

Citroën 2,407 620 3.88

Fiat 7,645 1,163 6.57

Nissan 569,243 4,411 129.05

Toyota 1,343,717 6,840 196.45

Honda 816,166 3,601 226.65

Mitsubishi 102,778 0 n/a

Subaru 153,638 0 n/a

Daihatsu 547,762 0 n/a

Suzuki 633,984 0 n/a

Premium: We get a better picture here as the list contains mainly products from other regions. Factoring in Japan's much bigger market and it makes the leaning toward Jaguar, Land Rover and Bentley in Korea all the more extreme. Add to that much the same happens to the German premium marques - but not to the same degree - and the Japanese market is seen as the one that is the more restricting to imports.

Lexus understandably is favoured by Japan but allowing for the 1:3.4 ratio and only a 2:1 ratio. Volvo and Rolls Royce are the only ones that buck the trend for foreign imports, the latter by a whisker.

Brand Japan Korea Ratio

Jaguar 1,073 1,989 0.54

Land Rover 3,126 4,675 0.67

Bentley 317 322 0.98

Audi 31,413 27,647 1.14

BMW 46,073 40,174 1.15

Cadillac 737 503 1.47

Mercedes 60,834 35,213 1.73

Porsche 5,385 2,568 2.10

MINI 17,598 6,572 2.68

Rolls Royce 154 45 3.42

Volvo 13,277 2,976 4.46

Lexus 44,246 6,464 6.84

Hyundai needs a new beginning in Japan

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