SEOUL, July 6 (Korea Bizwire) – Sales of foreign cars in South Korea shed 3.5 percent on-year in June, weighed down by a slump of German automaker Volkswagen Group in the wake of a widening probe into its emissions scandal here, industry data showed Wednesday.
A total of 23,435 units of imported cars were registered last month, down from 24,275 tallied in the previous year, according to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
June sales, however, jumped 20.4 percent from a month earlier, the data showed.
Sales of foreign cars have kept sliding since hitting a monthly high of 24,366 units in December, with the cumulative sales in the first half of this year decreasing 2.6 percent on-year to 116,749 units, the association said.
In August, the government slashed excise taxes by 30 percent on cars to 3.5 percent till December and then extended the deduction until June to boost domestic consumption.
German brands continued to dominate the domestic market.
BMW topped the pack by selling 4,820 cars in June, followed by Mercedes-Benz with 4,535, Audi with 2,812 and Volkswagen with 1,834. The Japanese car brands Lexus and Toyota came next with 1,276 and 1,165, respectively.
Among German brands, Volkswagen and Audi grappled with falling demand this year as South Korean prosecutors widened their investigation into the German automotive group over allegations of cheating emissions tests.
Volkswagen’s sales tumbled 33.1 percent to 12,463 cars in the January-June period, and Audi’s sales also fell 10.3 percent to 13,058 over the period.
On Tuesday, prosecutors summoned Park Dong-hoon, the former CEO of the local branch of Volkswagen, to question the German carmaker’s alleged irregularities.