South Korea Motorcycles Industry in 2020 benefit for booming demand for individual mobility and for electric vehicles acceleration, thanks to the generous government sustain to the segment. The market reached the best in the last 15 years with Honda consolidating the leadership.
Korean Market heritage and evolution
The South Korean motorcycles market is relatively small and the two wheelers are not a primary mobility device in the country, with annual sales counting only 5% of the powerful automotive industry.
The presence of the huge Hyundai Group one of the reason which focused consumers attentions more on the four than on the two wheeler across the years and nowadays roads are full of cars with only few motorcycles compared with all the other top industrial countries in the World.
Korean motorcycles market grew up in the last years of last century mainly driven by the demand for food service providers or courier services for livelihood rather than daily transportation or leisure demand.
The size of the domestic motorcycle market exceeded 300,000 units and was dominated by Kia, before filing for the IMF bailout. After Kia stopped to produce these vehicles the market started a long decline decreasing to about 100,000 units in 2010 and then stabilizing around this level.
In the 2020 the market boomed thanks to covid19 and sales reached 143.000 units, the best in over 15 years.
The two local producers, Daelim and Hyosung struggle to stand up.
However, while Daelim, focused in the scooter segment is still maintaining a minimum level of sales (just over 30.000 at global level and 29.535 in Korea in the 2020) Hyosung, specialized in custom old-fashioned motorcycles – is declining and near to disappear, with just 5.604 local sales and 199 export in the 2020.
Market leader is Honda while Chinese brands are taking control of the low-cost moped segment, while Japanese and Korean have taken the mid-size market segment for scooter and American and European brands are satisfying luxury models demand for motorcycles enthusiasts.
Since 2018, the electric segment is growing thanks to the government’s support for eco-friendly mobility, rapidly gaining market share, with 2020 sales at 15.405 units, over 11% of the total.
Kick-scooter boom in Seoul
As in many other metropolitan areas around the World, even the Korean capital recently has been invaded by so called “e-scooter”, which must not be confused with the e-scooter. They are the kick-scooter with a max speed of 25 km per hour, without a plate and with limited circulating rules.
Kick-scooters have taken over Seoul. Starting from Gangnam station and branching out, you will see more and more E-Scooters on the streets. They have been popping up over the past few years. Companies like Beam, Lime, Xing Xing, and Kickgoing have placed their e-scooters near over 100 subway stations in Seoul. It is estimated that 17 companies are operating over 40,000 e-scooters in Seoul.
However, opinions are divided amongst the citizens of Seoul as to whether these e-scooters are good for the community. There have been many complaints from homeowners, pedestrians, and drivers in Korea. In mid 2020, Government have introduced a new regulation for these devices, now considered similar to bicycles, allowing their riding to people over 13 age.