Japanese automaker Subaru announced on Wednesday that it will withdraw from the Korean market on Dec. 31. Several smaller foreign automakers have already departed as they struggled to make headway amid the increasingly competitive car market here. Mitsubishi is also on its way out.
Launched in 2009, Subaru Korea failed to entice Korean customers with any of the models it offered: the Legacy, a medium-sized sedan, as well as the Outback and Forester, both medium-sized SUVs.
In 2010 it sold a mere 384 cars, though sales improved slightly in 2011 to 664 and were similar this year with 558 as of last month. But that still does not look likely to be profitable.
Meanwhile, CXC Motors, which sells Mitsubishis in Korea, is likely to end its operations here soon. It has been selling the Lancer sedan and two SUVs, the Outlander and Pajero, but has only managed to sell 61 cars this year as of November.
Both carmakers lost out in the domestic market for imported vehicles as the dominant players cemented their grip. This year, German carmakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volkswagen dominated the market with a combined 70 percent market share.