By Kim Tae-gyu
The most expensive car registered in Korea might be a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62 owned by the agency of famous actor Bae Yong-joon, who was seen riding in the ultra-luxurious automobile himself.
Rep. Ahn Hong-joon from the ruling National Grand Party said Sunday that Koreans owned a total of 48,423 imported vehicles whose prices were above 100 million won ($94,600), citing government data.
Among them, corporations and legal entities have 10,466 with KeyEast, Bae’s agency, having the most expensive one _ the Maybach 62 worth more than 800 million won.
However, Ahn’s data does not include vehicles of individual motorists. Accordingly, it remains uncertain which model is the ultimate champion on the price list even though the Maybach 62 is a serious contender.
Bae has gained the spotlight in Asia over the past several years in spreading the Korean wave, or ``hallyu,’’ across the continent. In particular, he enjoys huge popularity in Japan after his soap operas were big hits there. Bae is also a major shareholder of KeyEast.
``The second and third most expensive vehicles held by firms were also Maybach 62s. Taekwang Industrial and Samsung Electronics bought models for 796 million won and 791 million won, respectively,’’ an aide to Ahn said.
Taekwang is a Busan-based shoemaker whose erstwhile Chairman Park Yeon-cha gained media attention in the late 2000s in a bribery scandal involving former President Roh Moo-hyun.
The investigations eventually resulted in the suicide of Roh in 2009 in a high-profile investigation, which started after Park’s confession. There still remain doubts as to whether Park’s testimony was 100 percent true.
Samsung Electronics is the world’s leading manufacturer of memory chips and flat-panel displays whose Chairman Lee Kun-hee is famous for his affection for automobiles.
The 69-year-old Samsung tycoon has been known to have a Maybach variant that is different from the company car, which is parked at its head office in southern Seoul for VIP visitors.
Maybach is a super-luxury sedan brand of Mercedes-Benz. It comes in two sizes _ the 57 and the 62, which represents the length of the vehicles in decimeters.
Some models are known to take half a year to build because Maybach offers various options for drivers so that they can personalize the vehicles with diverse equipment. The result: Its price tag varies largely in accordance to the options.
Included in the model’s client list are North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Microsoft head Bill Gates.
In the meantime, Ahn said that Samsung Electronics and CJ Cheil Jedang, and two law firms owned the most number of imported vehicles valued over 100 million won at 10 each.