SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) — U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla’s newly released Model Y was the top-selling foreign car model in South Korea last month, beating German luxury brand Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class, industry data showed Thursday.
A total of 3,461 Tesla’s vehicles were registered in May, sharply up from 76 in April, thanks to the release of new EV models, according to the data by CarIsYou Data Research Center.
Tesla’s Model Y accounted for most of the Korean sales, selling 3,328 units in May, becoming the best-selling imported vehicle brand in the first month of its domestic release.
Mercedes-Benz’s E-class sedan, which was the top-selling model in the first four months of this year, came next with 2,387 units in May, CarIsYou said.
The number of newly registered foreign vehicles, excluding Tesla, stood at 24,080 units last month, up 3.5 percent from a year ago, the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) said.
Foreign car sales recovered from the pandemic-caused slump in May compared with a year ago but were down 5.9 percent from the previous month due to a supply shortage faced by some brands, the KAIDA said.
Global automakers have been forced to cut back production in the wake of the semiconductor shortage.
German carmaker Mercedes-Benz was the most popular foreign brand in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, with three German brands — Mercedes-Benz, BMW Group and Audi-Volkswagen — sold a combined 19,249 units, accounting for eight out of 10 imported vehicles sold in the nation, the association said.
American automakers accounted for 11.6 percent of the imported vehicle market, trailed by Japanese carmakers with 8.5 percent, the KAIDA said.