SEOUL, Sept. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — Imported vehicle sales in South Korea fell 5.6 percent last month due to a slump in sales of Japanese vehicles amid trade tension with Japan, industry data showed Wednesday.
The number of newly registered foreign vehicles stood at 18,112 in August, down from 19,206 a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA).
Weak demand for Japanese cars led the overall decline. Sparked by Japan’s July trade restrictions against South Korea, anti-Japan public sentiment has been spreading in recent months, with some people boycotting Japanese products.
The combined sales of Japanese cars reached 1,398 units last month, more than halving from a year earlier.
By brand, Toyota saw its August sales plunging 59.1 percent on-year to 542 units, while Honda suffered an 80.9 percent on-year drop to 138 units. Nissan’s sales tumbled 87.4 percent on-year to 57 units.
Due to a sales slump, the market share of Japanese cars stood at 7.7 percent in August, down 9.2 percentage points from a year ago.
In the first eight months, Japanese automakers sold 27,554 cars in South Korea, down 0.7 percent from a year earlier, marking the first on-year decline since 2014.
In contrast, demand for German cars surged last month. The combined sales of German cars reached 12,103 units in August, up 24.3 percent from a year earlier, taking a 66.8 percent market share.
Mercedes-Benz was the best-selling foreign auto brand in August with 6,740 units, followed by BMW with 4,291 and MINI with 1,095.
The three best-selling models were the Mercedes-Benz E 300 sedan, the Mercedes-Benz E 300 4MATIC sedan and the BMW 520 sedan, KAIDA said.
From January to August, imported car sales declined 18.3 percent to 146,889 units from 179,833 in the same period of last year, it said.