Tesla’s electric vehicles are on display at a department store in Seoul. Photo courtesy of Lotte Shopping
SEOUL, July 13 (UPI) -- U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla saw its sales in South Korea jump 64.7 percent to 11,629 cars during the first six months of 2021 from a year before, according to the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association.
As the country's electric car market was sized at 26,632 during the first half of the year, Tesla topped local auto giants Hyundai Motor and Kia with a market share of 43.67 percent in KAIDA statistics released Monday.
The sales of Tesla's Model 3 amounted to 6,275, while that of the Model Y stood at 5,316, compared to Hyundai Motor's Ioniq 5 at 5,700.
Other global brands also fared well in the Korean EV market, including Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Porsche's Taycan 4S sold 802 to become the third best-selling imported electric vehicle during the January-June period, followed by the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC with 337 and Audi's e-tron 55 quatro with 114.
Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Volvo plan to launch new electric cars during the second half of this year.
Kia strives to counter with its EV6. Genesis, Hyundai's premium brand, launched its first electrified model, the G80, earlier this month.
"During the remainder of this year, Hyundai's Ioniq 5 and Kia's EV6 will hit the market in a full-fledged manner. Then, they expect to take the top position ahead of Tesla," Daelim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo told UPI News Korea.
"One issue is the global semiconductor shortage for the automotive industry. If the trouble continues for Hyundai and Kia, things may be quite different."