In the first month when the ‘light green’ license plate system exclusively for corporate vehicles was introduced, approximately 1,600 vehicles nationwide were found to have received this new license plate. The authorities predicted that about 20,000 corporate cars would be registered each year, but this figure was less than one-tenth. This is because corporations used the ‘trick’ of purchasing expensive imported cars in advance last year and registering them as corporate cars ahead of the implementation of the ‘light green’ license plate system.
◆Less light green license plates attached than expected
According to data received from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport by the office of Rep. Yang Kyung-sook of the Democratic Party of Korea, a member of the Planning and Finance Committee of the National Assembly, on the 12th, the number of passenger vehicles of public and private corporations with light green license plates in January was counted at a total of 1,661.
Of these, 1,658 were vehicles used by private corporations. Only one public corporation vehicle, such as official vehicles of central administrative agencies, the National Assembly, courts, and local governments, was registered in Seoul, Gyeonggi, and Jeonnam.
By region, 338 vehicles (20.4%) were registered in Incheon, ranking first among metropolitan local governments. Busan (307 units), Jeju (193 units), Gyeonggi (191 units), Seoul (170 units), and Gyeongnam (160 units) followed. Incheon is also the region with the largest number of registered imported car companies worth more than 100 million won last year.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport’s notice that has been in effect since the 1st of last month, ‘commercial passenger vehicles worth more than 80 million won newly or changed registered by public or private corporations’ must have a light green license plate.
As of the end of last month, the cumulative number of registered ‘business vehicles of public and private corporations valued at over 80 million won’ was 311,192.
This means that about 20,000 to 30,000 new units are registered every month.
Representative Yang Kyung-sook said, “The light green license plate system is the beginning of preventing private use of expensive corporate cars.”
There has been criticism that there are many cases where expensive luxury imported cars are purchased in the name of a corporation and then used for personal purposes. They are taking advantage of the fact that if you buy a car in the name of a corporation, you can receive tax benefits on fuel costs, etc. Accordingly, President Yoon Seok-yeol made a pledge to have a ‘light green license plate’ during his candidacy and said, “To distinguish between corporate cars for tax evasion purposes, all you have to do is make the license plate stand out like a taxi.”
◆Corporations are hoarding vehicles ahead of the implementation of light green license plates
Ahead of the implementation of the ‘light green license plate system’ to prevent private use of expensive corporate vehicles, the number of registered corporate passenger vehicles worth over 300 million won per vehicle increased by nearly 60% last year compared to the previous year.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, among the newly registered corporate passenger cars last year, there were 1,858 ultra-expensive vehicles with an acquisition price exceeding 300 million won. There were 1,554 passenger cars with an acquisition price of 300 to 500 million won, and 304 cars with an acquisition price exceeding 500 million won.
Compared to the 1,173 registered corporate passenger cars exceeding 300 million won (934 between 300 and 500 million won, 239 exceeding 500 million won) as of 2022, this is an increase of 58.4% (685 units) in just one year.
The number of registered corporate passenger vehicles worth more than 300 million won has generally increased steadily, but the annual increase was the largest last year. It was 357 units in 2018, 616 units in 2019, 591 units in 2020, and 820 units in 2021.
Analysis suggests that the purchase was rushed to avoid the light green license plate system introduced to prevent private use of expensive corporate vehicles. Starting this year, it is mandatory to attach a light green license plate for corporate passenger vehicles worth 80 million won or more that are newly or changed registrations.
Meanwhile, it was found that the amount of imported cars purchased by corporations last month fell by less than half compared to the end of last year. There is an analysis that the implementation of ‘light green license plates’ had an impact on the sales of imported cars.
According to the Korea Imported Automobile Association (KAIDA), imported car sales last month were 13,083 units, a 19.4% decrease compared to the same month last year. As of January sales, it was the lowest in 11 years since 2013.
Reporter Kim Ki-hwan [email protected]
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