Total sales were 1,568,657, the same as 2015. Local makes increased slightly, despite Hyundai falling 14%. These figures exclude commercial vehicles, which most other statistics include. If they were added, then local market share would be higher.
Going back into the annals of time in Korea car sales, Kia was the top selling brand in 1975 for one year shortly after it started making Mazda cars under license. Hyundai took over and has remained there since...until 2016. Now Kia is back on top.
It has to be said that was only achieved due to the Genesis being spun off as a stand alone premium car make. However, the numbers are extremely close and if trends continued as they had been then Kia would have overtaken Hyundai next year anyway.
The Hyundai/Kia/Genesis Group accounted for just over 60% of all sales. Add GM Korea, Renault Samsung and SsangYong and 86% is taken, leaving 14% for imports. So the country imposes heavy tariffs to protect the car industry.
VW's emissions cheating has seen the authorities stop the sale of VW brand cars. Audi has been seriously affected too, while Porsche for now seems to has escaped punitive measures. Lamborghini seems unaffected as it had no offending engines but then neither did Bentley. Despite that, Bentley sales have been totally halted. Nearly 400 Bentley cars were sold in 2015 so it is an important market for the company. Other brands either have already, or are now being investigated for possible incorrectly stated fuel use, with even seemingly minor differences pounced on.
You have to wonder what is behind some of this. Sure, VW was a bad situation but cases with other car brands seem unreasonable. Something doesn't add up. Is 14% penetration by imports too much? We will have to watch how far this goes.
Mercedes took the lead for import marques with a 20% rise in registrations and sixth spot overall. Land Rover had a great year, now 12th with a 48% increase in sales. Jaguar too did well with a 35% gain.
In the chart below, pale yellow represents a reduction in registrations and green is for those increasing.
Data source: Kaida (Imports).
Text source: RayCee.
Text source: RayCee.