May 21, 2013 12:32
The number of vehicle transfers rose 2.25 percent on-year to a record 1.14 million in the first four month of this year, the Transportation Ministry said. But that does not mean consumer confidence is returning.
While sales of foreign and second-hand cars increased, sales of new Korean models dwindled 1.5 percent on-year over the same period.
The main reason for booming sales of used cars is that they are cheaper, but the improving quality of models that come on the market and ease of online transactions also contribute to the trend.
Imported cars are hugely popular. In the second-hand market, three-year-old foreign cars cost little more than half of their original price tag.
At SK Encar, the nation's biggest second-hand car dealer, registration of foreign cars far outpaced that of domestic models for the last three years, at 40 percent against 24 percent. Of overall offerings, imports account for 12.3 percent this year, up 7.8 percent in 2009.
The sales volume of new foreign cars hit the 100,000 mark for the first time in 2011. As cars begin to be traded in the second-hand market after two or three years of use, the used-car market will likely see a flood of foreign cars this year.
Reflecting soaring interest, the top search word on the used car dealer's website was BMW 520d, with 290,000 hits in the first quarter of this year.
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