Hyundai i30 N

Britain is Europe’s biggest market for Korean cars

Hyundai i30 NMore than 190,000 Korean-branded cars were sold in Britain last year, making the UK Europe’s largest market for Korea’s Hyundai, Kia and SsangYong car firms.

Even more impressively, Britain is also the third-biggest Asian export market worldwide, second only to China and Japan. Korean cars now take 7.5 percent of the new car market; 10 years ago, it was just 2.5 percent.

Imports of Korean-built cars have rocketed 93 percent over the past decade, to 103,078 models last year. But sales have also grown in the opposite direction, with a four-fold rise in UK production of cars for Korean buyers, to over 20,000 units.

SsangYong Rexton

The analysis has been revealed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on the eve of a trade mission to South Korea, which it hopes will reveal opportunities for British brands in the country.

The SMMT is also visiting the Green Car Korea Show, eager to tell attendees that Britain is the largest EU market for plug-in hybrid cars – which brands such as Kia are pushing ever-more heavily in the UK.

Kia Ceed

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Britain is one of the most important global markets for Korean manufacturers, and vice-versa, with consumers in both countries benefitting from a huge choice of cutting-edge models.

“With the UK’s reputation for world-class engineering, and its position as a test bed for the next generation of connected, autonomous and zero emission vehicles, strengthening our trade links with global automotive leaders such as Korea can only bring mutual success.”

Top 5 cars from Korean brands in Britain

1: Kia Sportage

2: Hyundai Tucson

3: Hyundai i10

4: Kia Picanto

5: Hyundai i20

Top 5 cars exported from Britain to Korea

1: Mini

2: Land Rover Discovery Sport

3: Land Rover Discovery

4: Range Rover Evoque

5: Jaguar XF