Some 34,079 BMWs were sold in Korea last year, making the country the 10th-largest market for the German luxury carmaker.
BMW plans to boost sales here by another 10 percent this year. "Until 2011, Korea ranked 13th in terms of sales," said Kim Hyo-joon of BMW Korea. "But last year Korea overtook Spain, Australia and South Africa to reach the 10th spot for the first time."
The carmaker saw global sales rise 10.6 percent year-on-year in 2012 to 1.85 million vehicles. But sales in Korea increased 24 percent. However, Kim said BMW ended up posting an operating loss in 2012 despite achieving W1.72 trillion (US$1=W1,089) in sales, up 17 percent from 2011, due to foreign exchange losses from the weak euro.
BMW Korea plans to start sales this year of eight new models, including a face-lifted 5 Series and a 4 Series Coupe designed by a Korean. The German automaker will also double the warranty period of its popular Mini subcompacts and build another 14 service centers in addition to the existing 42.
The number of car mechanics will also increase 19 percent.
Next year the automaker plans to launch the i3 electric car and i8 hybrid here. The i3 will first hit showrooms in some countries like Germany and the U.S. in the second half of this year. The i8 became popular after being featured in the movie "Mission Impossible 4."