Monday, November 23, 2009

Some Japanese Cars Fare Better in Korea Than Japan

Several Japanese car models have been selling better in Korea than in Japan, a report revealed Sunday. More Honda Accords, Honda Civics, and Toyota Camrys were sold in Korea than in their home country during the first nine months of the year, according to the report by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association and the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

Honda sold 1,468 Accords in Korea between January and September with average monthly sales of 163 units, while 1,057 Honda Inspires, a domestic Accord equivalent model, were sold in Japan with average monthly sales of 117 units. The Civic recorded total sales of 595 units with average monthly sales of 66 units in Korea, while only 10 units were sold in Japan during the same period.

The same story goes for Honda CR-V. Some 786 Honda CR-Vs were sold in Korea and 2,613 in Japan in the first nine months, while the Honda Legend achieved sales of 90 units in Korea and 340 in Japan. When the figures are adjusted to account for the fact that the Korean market is about one third the size of the Japanese one, the sales performance of the CR-V and Legend were about the same in the two countries.

Toyota sold 327 Camrys within just 20 days of its launch in Korea last month, while only 136 units were sold in Japan in September. The Lexus LS460 luxury sedan recorded sales of 562 units in Korea in the first nine months, compared to 1,103 units in Japan. On an adjusted basis, sales of the two models in Korea were double those in Japan.

The reason for the stronger sales performance in Korea is that most of these models are mid-size or large sedans, which appeal to Korean consumers but are unpopular among the Japanese. Hybrids, light passenger cars, and compacts dominate the Japanese market while mid-size and large luxury sedans are less common. The hybrid-electric Toyota Prius is the best-selling car in Japan, with sales of about 30,000 units per month, and only one or two mid-size or large sedans are among the top 50.

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