South Korea’s imported car sales jump 25.5 percent last year


SEOUL, Jan 7 – Imported car sales in South Korea jumped 25.5 percent in 2014 from a year earlier as European automakers continued to expand their presence here amid growing demand for diesel and hybrid models, industry data showed Wednesday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA), a total of 196,359 foreign-branded vehicles were registered last year, up from 156,497 units tallied a year earlier. The figure was more than twice as many as what was registered back in 2010.

In December alone, 17,120 foreign vehicles were sold, up 38 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The spike was driven by a marked growth in demand for diesel-engine and hybrid electric vehicles, which jumped 36.9 percent and 32.6 percent to 133,054 units and 7,736 units, respectively. Sales of gasoline-engine vehicles also grew 3.6 percent on-year to 55,383.

German automakers expanded their presence in Korea last year, while Japanese companies saw their market share decline.

The data showed that German cars accounted for 69.4 percent of the annual sales, an increase from the previous year’s 67.5 percent. Japanese brands came next with a market share of 12.3 percent, but the share declined from the previous year’s 14.1 percent.

By brand, BMW ranked first by selling 40,174 vehicles last year, followed by Mercedes-Benz with 35,213 and Volkswagen with 30,719.

Vehicles produced by European countries took up a combined 80.4 percent of the total, up from the previous year’s 78.5 percent, the data showed.

Volkswagen’s Tiguan 2.0 TDI BlueMotion sold 8,106 units last year, retaining its best-seller status among foreign brands. BMW 520D came next with 6,546 units, according to the data.