While the Washington and Seoul trade agreement should be making the most benefits for the parts implied, it actually looks like the Japanese and German automakers reap the most.
According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA), German and Japanese automakers managed to boost Korean sales of US made cars nearly five times the numbers of 2011 – the year before the deal took effect. In the mean time, US automakers only increased sales by 43% – just as South Korea, long dominated by domestic brands (think Hyundai – Kia) is becoming an important market for the global carmakers.
“The FTA did give us an opportunity to grow but it is not having a significant boost to our sales,” a Cadillac exec said unofficially. “Growth of foreign car sales in South Korea is mainly driven by expanding sales of diesel models, but there’s a dearth of diesel cars in the United States.”
The discrepancy comes from the usual view of the American automaker – big and less fuel-efficient than the German and japans counterparts. Also, South Korea’s buyers seem to have tasted the benefits of diesel powered vehicles – a segment where the Germans have long been dominating the US and Japanese counterparts.