SEOUL, May 22 (Korea Bizwire) — German carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz sold more vehicles in South Korea in the January-April period compared to Japan, an industry association said Sunday.
Vehicle sales by BMW and Mercedes-Benz jumped 48 percent and 32 percent year-on-year, respectively, to 18,115 and 24,877 units in the Korean market during the first four months, showed data from the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).
In Japan, BMW’s sales rose 2.2 percent to 15,818 units and Mercedes-Benz’s increased 0.7 percent to 21,365 during the same period, the data showed.
It is the first time the two German carmakers have performed better in South Korea than in Japan. The reversal is mainly affected by the Audi-Volkswagen Group’s emissions scandal.
In July last year, Audi-Volkswagen Group voluntarily stopped selling its vehicles in Korea as the Seoul government announced it will ban the sale of all Audi and Volkswagen cars while imposing heavy fines on the German carmaker after it admitted last year to having falsified U.S. emissions tests in some of its diesel-powered cars.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz apparently absorbed customers who were planning to buy vehicles made by the troubled Volkswagen Group in Korea.
From January to April, Japan was ahead of South Korea in terms of the size of the import market. Imported carmakers sold 96,877 vehicles in Japan during the four months, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, while selling 75,017 units in Korea, a 1.6-percent on-year gain.