New electrified SUV of Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz Korea Vice President Johannes Schoen, L, and Vice President Lee Sang-kuk, third from L, pose with other company officials next to the EQS SUV at a press conference in Seoul, Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Korea

German brand reaches unprecedented plateau

Mercedes-Benz Korea announced on Feb. 1 that the company’s sales topped 80,000 vehicles last year for the first time in its 20-year history in this country.

The German automaker, which stages stiff competition with BMW in the Korean market, has become the first foreign brand to reach the milestone here.

As a result, South Korea has become Mercedes Benz’s fourth-largest market, following China, the United States, and Germany. It has more than 60 showrooms across Korea.

Among last year’s sales, approximately 6 percent were electric vehicles. Mercedes-Benz Korea strives to more than double the proportion to 15 percent this year.

Toward that end, the company vowed to strengthen its EV lineup by introducing two electric vehicles, including the EQS SUV, later this year, the brand’s biggest electrified utility vehicle.

“Over the past two decades, we have achieved outstanding results,” Mercedes-Benz Korea Vice President Lee Sang-kuk told a press conference in Seoul.

“Last year’s sales of Mercedes-Maybach S-Class and GLS models jumped 147 percent from 2021. Those of S-Class models also rose 13 percent,” he said.

But there are challenges for Mercedes-Benz Korea to tackle, according to experts.

“South Korean companies buy many premium sedans, and that’s why Mercedes-Benz and BMW are faring well in this country,” Daelim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo said.

“As the government is set to regulate the corporate purchase of premium cars later this year or early next year, Mercedes-Benz and BMW may face hardships. It remains to be seen how they will deal with the issue.”

Mercedes-Benz sold 80,976 vehicles in Korea last year to beat BMW of which sales stood at 78,554 units, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.