German Carmakers Give Little to Charity in Korea

The four German carmakers with a presence in Korea achieved more than W5 trillion in sales here for the first time last year, but their charitable contributions accounted for a mere W2.5 billion (US$1=W1,042).

That is only 0.04 percent of total sales, as against Hyundai's 0.2 percent.

Chosun Ilbo analysis shows the German automakers -- Audi Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Stuttgart Sports Car -- posted W5.74 trillion in sales in Korea, up 23 percent on-year, and an operating profit of W135.9 billion.

They sold a combined 103,539 cars last year, accounting for 66 percent of total sales of foreign cars here. Audi Volkswagen alone sold some 46,000 cars, becoming the first foreign carmaker to surpass the W2 trillion mark in sales.

BMW reached W1.9 trillion in sales, Mercedes-Benz W1.4 trillion, and Stuttgart Sports Car W240 billion.

But they tightened their purse strings on charitable contributions. BMW was the most generous with donations of W1.7 billion. Mercedes-Benz donated W451 million, and Audi Volkswagen and Stuttgart Sports Car W200 million each.

Hyundai, which posted W43 trillion in sales in 2012, donated W74.2 billion for charitable causes here.

"German automakers account for 70 percent of the import car market here but send back most of their profits to their home country. It would be better for their image in the long term if they gave a little more back to Korean society," said Park Yong-seong with the Korea Transportation Safety Authority.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 15, 2014 12:36 KST