Hyundai Motor Co.'s Grandeur full-size sedan was the most popular car model in South Korea in the first half of 2018, despite sales falling a sharp 17.5 percent from a year earlier, industry data showed Sunday.
The near-luxury car sold 60,153 units in the cited period, maintaining its best-selling status for the second year in a row after the sixth-generation model reached showrooms in late 2016, numbers provided by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) showed.
The association said that while sales of the Grandeur, which was sold until the fifth generation in the North American market as the Azera, showed signs of losing steam, demand for the company's all-new Santa Fe midsize crossover jumped 66.4 percent on-year with 52,398 units sold in the January-June period. This placed it as the second best-selling car in Asia's fourth-largest economy.
"The new fully changed SUV only reached customers in March, so the numbers are very impressive, and if sales continue to remain strong in the second half, it could overtake the Grandeur as the more popular car for the whole year," an industry source speculated.
Besides the top two, Hyundai's corporate cousin Kia Motors Corp.'s Sorento SUV came in third with 37,816 cars sold, while Hyundai's Avante compact sedan and Kia's stablemate Carnival minivan rounded up the five best-selling cars in the country, with 37,759 and 36,095 units sold, respectively.
KAMA's data then showed that Hyundai- and Kia-made cars accounted for all cars from sixth to 10th place, indicative of their strong presence in the country. The Sonata midsize sedan by Hyundai came in sixth, with Kia's Morning, K3 and K5 filling the next three slots. The 10th spot was captured by Hyundai's new Kona small SUV.
Meanwhile, the total number of cars sold in the country dipped 3.1 percent on-year to 929,390 units, with sales by local carmakers, such as GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co., all posting negative growth.
Hyundai reported sales dipping 1.4 percent on-year in the first half, with Kia reporting annual gains of 3.6 percent.
In terms of market share, Hyundai controlled 38.9 percent and Kia 29.4 percent of the market, with SsangYong coming in third at 5.7 percent. They were trailed by GM Korea and Renault Samsung at 4.5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Imports accounted for 16.7 percent of the market, up 2.7 percentage points from the year before, industry data showed. (Yonhap)