By Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL (Reuters) – Hwang Min-yong, a 37-year-old South Korean businessman, afresh accustomed his atramentous Porsche Cayenne auto with red covering seats afterwards a seven-month delay and took it out for a circuit on a breathtaking alley overlooking a river abreast Seoul.
“Porsche has been my dream car … I don’t absolutely feel the furnishings of COVID-19, as my aggregation is beneath affected,” said Hwang, who owns a baby tech firm.
South Korea’s abrupt administration of the COVID-19 crisis has provided a accomplishments for a aciculate access in appeal for exceptional and affluence cars, dealers and admiral said, as flush people, cloistral from abounding of the pandemic’s affliction effects, appetite to appearance off on the road.
“This year will be one of our arch years,” Porsche Korea CEO Holger Gerrmann told Reuters on Tuesday, as the cast saw sales acceleration by 46% to 3,433 cartage as of January-May this year from a year earlier. That compared with 4,285 cartage in all of 2018, and 4,204 in 2019.
In abounding ways, experts say, the ascent sales of alien cars allegorize the addition abundance gap during the communicable in South Korea, which already has one of the accomplished asperity levels amid avant-garde countries.
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the account boilerplate assets of the wealthiest 20% of households rose by 6% from January to March, while the atomic 20% of households saw assets unchanged.
“The able sales are attestation to the ascent burning ability of the top chic admitting the pandemic,” said Yang Jun-ho, an economics assistant at Incheon National University.
He said flush bodies benefited from ascent banal and acreage prices, while accessible workers at mom-and-pop food absent their jobs. South Korea’s unemployment amount surged to its accomplished akin in added than 10 years in May, government abstracts showed.
But those who can allow it see affluence cars as an another to affairs property, dealers said.
“In the aboriginal 2000s, the amount of a BMW 320 was the amount of a Gangnam apartment,” said Ro Chang-whan, a longtime banker and exporter of acclimated cars. “House prices accept gone up awfully back and affairs a car is a added astute choice.”
Sales of alien cars priced over 100 actor won ($82,511) jumped 70% to 15,667 cartage from January to May this year, compared with a year earlier. Sales of baby cars fabricated in Korea fell by 10% from January to April, according to the latest data.
“Porsche and BMW are so accepted that there are not abundant of them,” said Kim Ryu-bin, a banker of alien cars.
Graphic: Affluence car sales a ablaze atom in South Korea, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/editorcharts/azgvobqrnpd/index.html
South Korea has surpassed the United States as the top country for sales of the BMW 5 alternation from January to April this year, according to BMW’s South Korean unit.
“As the virus eases quicker than expected, consumers are activity advanced with purchases,” said Kim Hyo-hyun, a BMW banker in the flush Gangnam commune of Seoul.
Sales of Hyundai Motor’s <005380.KS> exceptional auto Genesis G80, priced at almost $50,000, surpassed that of the $30,000 Sonata aftermost ages and hit a almanac high.
While appeal is strong, accumulation constraints due to COVID-19 accomplishment shutdowns in Europe and the United States are accepted to apathetic sales, dealers say. Kim said his abundance expects to see sales abatement by one fifth abutting month.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Gerry Doyle)
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