In September of 2023, the Tesla Model Y took the lead as South Korea's best-selling imported car. Notably, this compact SUV also secured the fifth position in overall car sales, surpassing both imported and domestic models.
As per preliminary data from individual manufacturers, while sales of domestic vehicles in South Korea experienced a decline, the trend for imported vehicles was quite the opposite. Over the initial nine months of the year, car sales within the domestic market witnessed an impressive 8% increase, reaching a total of 1,090,614 units. This surge was predominantly driven by Hyundai and Kia. Simultaneously, several imported brands noted a surge in interest from local consumers, resulting in a notable 22,565 units being sold in September alone.
Despite this noteworthy achievement, it's worth mentioning that many local publications inexplicably omitted to highlight the Model Y's exceptional performance in September. Produced at Tesla's Chinese factory, the Model Y captured the top spot among imported cars for the month, with a robust total of 4,206 units sold. Following closely were the Mercedes-Benz E-Class with 3,510 units, Volvo XC60 with 899 units, and the BMW 3 Series with 842 units.
Thanks to its robust sales figures, the Model Y not only reigned supreme as the best-selling imported car but also claimed the fifth spot in overall countrywide car sales. The top position was secured by the Kia Sorento, with a remarkable 10,190 units sold, followed by the Kia Sportage with 5,402 sales. In third place was the Hyundai Santa Fe, boasting 5,319 units, while the Kia Seltos closely followed with 4,399 units.
The Model Y's popularity skyrocketed notably after Tesla introduced a more affordable version. This rear-wheel drive variant of the Model Y comes equipped with Chinese lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Local experts conducted a market analysis and deduced that the reduction in price significantly contributed to the surge in sales. Moreover, the current pricing of the Model Y rendered it eligible for a full government subsidy for green vehicles.