UK now largest EU new car market for Korean car brands, with some 190,215 vehicles registered in 2017.
Korea is UK Auto's third biggest Asian export market, behind only China and Japan, as demand for British-built cars quadruples since 2010.
Mutual benefits of Korea-UK trade and innovation highlighted during SMMT trade mission to South Korea.
The growing strength of the automotive relationship between the UK and South Korea was highlighted today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) during its trade mission to the country.
Latest figures from the UK trade body show that Britain is now the largest new car market in the EU for Korean car brands. 190,215 British motorists chose cars with Korean badges last year - with Kia, Hyundai and SsangYong models accounting for around one in 13 (7.5%) of new car registrations - up from 60,460 (2.5%) ten years prior.
Meanwhile, British consumers are also responsible for boosting output at Korean car factories, with UK demand for models built in the country hitting record levels in 2017. The UK imported 103,078 Korean-made cars last year - up 93% since 2010. Over the same period, UK production of cars for Korean buyers has risen more than four-fold, with 20,698 models exported to the country last year.
Korea is now Britain's third largest Asian car export market after China and Japan, with growth due to an increasing appetite among Korean motorists for the UK's wide range of premium, luxury and high performance automobiles. After Germany, the UK is the EU's second biggest manufacturer of premium products, including synonymously British brands Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren, MINI and Rolls Royce.
The recent growth in bilateral trade has been enabled by the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), applied in 2011, which enables cars and components to move across borders without tariffs. To ensure both markets can continue to benefit in future, it's crucial that this arrangement remains in place beyond March 2019.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "The UK's automotive relationship with Korea goes back many years and today the motor trade between our two countries goes from strength-to-strength. 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."
The news comes as SMMT and a delegation of its UK-based members visit Korea this week on a trade mission to explore new business opportunities. The mission will provide a greater understanding for UK companies of the South Korean market and include visits to Seoul, Daegu and Gwangju. SMMT will also participate in the 4th Industrial Revolution Conference and Green Car Korea Show to demonstrate the capabilities of UK Automotive, including its highly productive workforce, collaborative government, favourable legislative environment and strong new car market, the largest in the EU for plug-in cars.
Top 5 British-built bestsellers in Korea 2017
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover Discovery
Range Rover Evoque
Top 5 Korean car marque models registered in the UK 2017
About SMMT and the UK automotive industry
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media.
The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £82 billion turnover and £20.2 billion value added. With some 186,000 people employed directly in manufacturing and 856,000 across the wider automotive industry, it accounts for 12.8% of total UK export of goods and invests £3.65 billion each year in automotive R&D. More than 30 manufacturers build some 70 models of vehicle in the UK supported by 2,500 component providers and some of the world's most skilled engineers.
More detail on UK automotive available in SMMT's Motor Industry Facts 2018 publication at smmt.co.uk/facts18
Broadcasters: SMMT has an ISDN studio and access to expert spokespeople, case studies and regional representatives.
SOURCE Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)