The Asian country was once a very closed nation, with local automakers such as Hyundai, Kia or the late Daewoo owning the market entirely. Now, the heavy import fees have been reduced and commercial agreements opened South Korea to foreign brands.
With the country entering normality, the local brands started to lose ground to imports, with the market becoming gradually more attractive to global automakers. Among the automotive segments, the premium and ultra-luxury ones were deeply impacted by the change – as traditional South Korean manufacturers lacked the models needed to challenge the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, not to mention Bentley or Ferrari.
So, Bentley is now in the process of introducing new models in the country, as the appeal of the market has intensified the competition in the plus 200 million won ($193,000) segment.
“The success that we’ve enjoyed is actually being watched closely by competitors, and you’ll see greater investment focus on the market because of that,” comments Tim Mackinlay, Bentley’s director for Korea and Japan.
The Asian nation will see the addition of two new high-performance variants of existing models: the two-seat Continental GT3-R supercar and the recently unveiled sporty flagship sedan – the Mulsanne Speed. The Bentley dealership in Seoul, for example, has managed to become the brand’s second best in the world, trailing only the one in Dubai.
VIa Automotive News Europe