SEOUL, July 3 (Korea Bizwire) — Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea jumped 41 percent in June from a year earlier on tax cuts and new models, an industry association said Friday.
The number of newly registered foreign vehicles rose to 27,350 units last month from 19,386 a year earlier, the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) said in a statement.
“A reduction in individual consumption taxes and new model launches particularly by Audi Volkswagen Korea helped buoy the monthly sales,” a KAIDA spokeswoman said over the phone.
The three bestselling models were the Audi A6 40 TDI sedan, Mercedes-Benz’s E300 4MATIC sedan and E250 sedan, the statement said.
From January to June, foreign carmakers sold a total of 128,236 autos, up 17 percent from 109.314 in the same period of last year, KAIDA said.
Imported brands accounted for 17 percent of South Korea’s passenger vehicle market in the January-May period, up from 15 percent a year ago. Their market share for June will be available in August.
German brands — Audi-Volkswagen Korea, BMW Group Korea and Mercedes-Benz Korea — sold a combined 83,647 vehicles in the first six months, up 44 percent from 57,957 a year ago, it said.
Japanese carmakers continued to struggle with low demand despite aggressive marketing as the two countries are still at odds over Japan’s export curbs against South Korea.
Their combined sales plunged 57 percent to 10,043 units in the first half from 23,482 a year ago during the same period, as the two countries are still at odds over Japan’s export curbs against South Korea.
Five Japanese brands are available in the Korean passenger vehicle market — Toyota Motor Corp. and its luxury brand Lexus; Honda Motor Co.; and Nissan Motor Co. and its premium brand Infiniti.
In June, Nissan announced it will withdraw its operations from South Korea by December as it is hard to regain sustainable growth here due to worsening business environments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Japanese carmaker will pull the Nissan and premium Infiniti brands out of South Korea as part of its global business reorganization, the company said in a statement.
Last July, Japan tightened regulations on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials critical for the production of semiconductors and displays.
In August, it removed South Korea from its list of countries given preferential treatment in trade procedures.
South Korea views the moves as retaliation against 2018 Supreme Court rulings here ordering Japanese firms to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.