Koreans Snap up Discounted Japanese Cars

  • By Yoon Hyung-jun

    November 08, 2019 13:10

    Japanese cars are enjoying a slight resurgence among thrifty Korean consumers who are taking advantage of a boycott to land a bargain.

    Some Japanese cars are now cheaper here than in Japan or the U.S. as showrooms slash prices amid the boycott, according to online chatter.

    In the initial surge of the boycott, Japanese automakers' share of the Korean market plunged from 20.4 to 5.5 percent over the last three months. They started offering huge discounts in October.

    Honda slashed the price of 1,500 Pilot SUVs from W54.9 million to W39.9 million and managed to clear its entire inventory (US$1=W1,157). That makes the Pilot cheaper than Kia's popular off-road Mohave SUV, which costs between W47 million and W52.3 million and similar to Hyundai's large Palisade sedan (W34.8 million to W44.1 million) and Ssangyong G4 Rexton (W34.4 million to W46.1 million).

    Infiniti offered a W15 million discount on its Q50 hybrid sedan, which usually costs W57.6 million, and W10 million discounts on other models. Last month it sold 168 cars compared to 150 in October 2018.

    Toyota, which had refused to give discounts, instead began offering millions of won worth of gasoline vouchers last month.

    The strategy of tempting customers with massive discounts is clearly working. Sales data show that 1,977 Japanese cars were newly registered here last month, up nearly 80 percent from September and the best sales performance since July.

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