Korea Pulls Ahead of Japan in Imported Car Sales

By Kim A-sa | February 07, 2023 11:43
Korea continues to pull ahead of Japan as a market for foreign carmakers, with some 40,000 more imported cars sold here than in the island country. Some 283,396 imported cars were sold in Korea last year, compared to 240,758 in Japan. Although Japan's car market is still more than twice as big with 4.2 million cars to Korea's 1.69 million, foreign automakers sell more cars here. Japan has traditionally been a tough market for imports due to the strength of Toyota and Honda, but the sheer size of the market there had ensured sales of at least 300,000 foreign cars until 2019. But numbers are dwindling, and in Korea import sales grew steadily to surpass Japan for the first time in 2020. 
Even in the luxury market Korea is now more attractive to foreign carmakers. Last year, 775 Bentleys costing around W300 million were sold in Korea, compared to 651 in Japan (US$1=W1,253). Some 8,963 Porsches costing more than W100 million were sold here, also beating Japan's 7,193 One staffer at a supercar dealership in Korea said, "The focus of marketing in Asia shifted from Japan to Korea over the last one or two years."  

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