Kang Sung-mo, 39, who runs an advertising agency in Seoul, is a convert.

- I'm not interested in cars, but I'm interested in Tesla's brand and technology it contains, he told Reuters.

Kang bought the Tesla Model 3 in December, while he only abandoned the Hyundai SUV he bought last summer. Tesla’s innovative reputation is good for his own image, Kang Sung-mo says.

Tesla's best month in South Korea was June, when it sold 2,827 vehicles. At the same time, trading recovered from sales in April and May, which were partly affected by the production disruptions caused by the coronavirus in the United States.

The American electric car is the dream of many in South Korea.

Photo: KIM HONG-JI

Model 3 is now South Korea’s second best-selling imported car model. Only the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is above.

At the same time as Tesla slammed, sales of South Korea’s own Hyundai Kona EV fell 31 percent in June to 2,513 vehicles.

Up to 5,000 South Korean customers have a Model 3 on order. Most of them will have to wait for delivery until at least September, an informed source told Reuters. The source of the information did not have the authority to talk about the information, and he therefore did not want to

Tesla, which highlights the threat it poses to established brands, overtook Toyota last week as the world’s most valuable car brand. At the same time, Tesla's second-quarter customer deliveries exceeded expectations, while the pandemic kept competitors' sales low.

  • Read more: Tesla rose to become the world's most valuable carmaker

Significant subsidies from the South Korean government to Model 3 have definitely helped sales and enabled the car to be reduced in price to around € 35,000.

At the same time, the hustle and bustle around the brand has increased.

An example of this is that South Korean Tesla fans are eager to follow the routes of ships that bring cars to Asia. The country’s latest trendy cocktail at the country’s bars is a blend of Hitejinro Terra beer and soju liquor. When the drinks are mixed, their names in the Korean language form something like “Tesla”.

The carmaker has also benefited from free advertising since popular and well-known Korean actor Yoo Ah-in drove his Tesla Model X SUV to the grocery store in a reality TV show unveiled last month. It immediately led to an increase in demand from Tesla.

  • Read more: Tesla at half price? What to keep in mind when purchasing an electric car used

Some of the new Korean owners said they bought Tesla for practical reasons. Kim Dong-Hwan, who works in the IT industry in Seoul, wanted to avoid public transport during the corona pandemic. Still, not everything is perfect, as a structural problem was found in his Model 3, and now he has to wait several months before it is fixed. Yet in Kim’s words, the car’s technical advantages and its emotional appeal are worth it.

- I am very pleased, considering that Tesla's self-direction reduces fatigue while driving, he said.