In 2021, almost 1.8 thousand AMG GTs by Mercedes-Benz were sold in South Korea, making them the most sold sports car in the country. The market is surging in spite of the domestic economic downturn and sluggish global economy. While only sports car models are recorded in this statistic, supercars such as Ferraris and imported luxury cars are also selling very well. Lamborghini, for example, held its first Lamborghini Day in Korea in Seoul in late 2018 and again in November 2019, an indication of the Italian luxury automaker's keen interest. Business insiders acknowledged that other brands are also paying attention to South Korea as a market with high growth potential.
From the desire to be different
Imported cars in the past were rarer on the road and more expensive than domestic brands such as Hyundai and Kia. They were status symbols, an indication to other people that the owner was affluent and likely powerful as well. The popularity of imported cars was similar to the popularity of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel. However, as Korea's economy grew and people held more spare capital in their hands, "ordinary" Koreans began to spend more on cars and even purchased imported foreign cars such as BMWs or Mercedez-Benzes.
From foreign cars to foreign super- and sports cars
The desire to set oneself apart from the masses is suggested to be the cause behind the increasing interest in and sales of supercars such Ferraris and Lamborghinis and sports cars such as Porsches and BMWs. Even luxury cars such as Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, though neither supercars nor sports cars, are seeing steady growth. Rolls-Royces and Bentleys are considered top-tier, expensive, and large luxury vehicles. In addition, different designs such as the Urus SUV from Lamborghini are popular. The Urus is not an ordinary SUV and boasts performance similar to some sports cars, and accounted for around 44 percent of all Lamborghini models newly registered in Korea in 2019. Ferrari is reportedly preparing to launch its own so-called "super SUV" model to counter the Urus.
Leading sports cars in South Korea in 2021, by unit sales
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Danawa. (September 13, 2022). Leading sports cars in South Korea in 2021, by unit sales [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/697945/south-korea-sports-cars/
Danawa. "Leading sports cars in South Korea in 2021, by unit sales." Chart. September 13, 2022. Statista. Accessed January 27, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/697945/south-korea-sports-cars/
Danawa. (2022). Leading sports cars in South Korea in 2021, by unit sales. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: January 27, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/697945/south-korea-sports-cars/
Danawa. "Leading Sports Cars in South Korea in 2021, by Unit Sales." Statista, Statista Inc., 13 Sep 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/697945/south-korea-sports-cars/
Danawa, Leading sports cars in South Korea in 2021, by unit sales Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/697945/south-korea-sports-cars/ (last visited January 27, 2023)
Leading sports cars in South Korea in 2021, by unit sales [Graph], Danawa, September 13, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/697945/south-korea-sports-cars/