US Is No Longer The Top Market for BMWs And Porsches: Guess Where [Hint: Not Europe]

As we all know, the world has been struck by the COVID-19 pandemic and it is not going away anytime soon. But some countries were fortunate enough to take preventive measures before the virus spread any further. 

And thanks to such efforts, these countries were not as badly affected like the rest and still managed to keep the economy going. 

You probably heard that New Zealand and Taiwan are among those countries aforementioned in being the least affected by the COVID-19. But did you also know South Korea is included in that list?

That's right, and apparently, the economy in Korea is growing to the point that there is a sharp increase in demand for premium and luxury cars- one of which is BMW and even Porsche. 

In a news report by ABS-CBN, Holger Germann CEO of Porsche Korea told Reuters that 2020 will be one of their strongest years stating a 46% increase in sales with almost 3,500 vehicles sold in just the first 5 months of 2020 compared to 4,285 vehicles in all of 2018, and 4,204 in 2019. 

While the sales of BMW has also rose to the same percentage as the Porsche to selling almost 22,000 vehicles from in the same time frame.  

With the data presented by Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association, it confirms that South Korea has surpassed the United States as the top country for sales of the BMW 5 series from January to April this year, according to BMW's South Korean unit.

A local BMW dealer in Seoul who goes by Kim Hyo-Hun mentioned that consumers are buying more vehicles with the virus slowing down. Another dealer of imported cars saying that Porsche and BMW are so popular that there are not enough of them. 

While demand is strong, supply constraints due to COVID-19 manufacturing shutdowns in Europe and the United States are expected to slow sales, dealers say.

Sales of imported cars priced over 100 million won ($82,511) jumped 70 percent to 15,667 vehicles from January to May this year, compared with a year earlier. 

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The Wide Gap between the Rich and the Poor

Yang Jun-ho, a professor teaching economics at Incheon National University explains that these increasing sales are a "testament to the rising consumption power of the top class despite the pandemic," as noted by Yahoo Finance

He added that the rich people benefited from rising stock and property prices, while vulnerable workers at mom-and-pop stores lost their jobs.

Just as sales for luxury cars in South Korea, so has the unemployment rate surged to its highest level in more than 10 years in May. 

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the monthly average income of the wealthiest 20% of households rose by 6% from January to March, while the poorest 20% of households saw income unchanged. 

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