Imported auto sales spike 12 pct in April on Japan, Europe models

SEOUL-- Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea rose 12 percent last month from a year earlier on robust sales of Japanese and European models, industry data showed Wednesday.

The number of newly registered foreign cars climbed to 20,051 in April from 17,845 a year earlier, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) said in a statement.

Sales of Japanese vehicles jumped 15 percent last month compared to a year earlier, with European car sales up 10 percent over the cited period, the statement said.

The top three best-selling models were Mercedes-Benz's E220d, BMW's 320d and Lexus' ES300h last month, it said.

South Korean customers chose other German brands over Audi and Volkswagen cars whose sales were banned from July in the country for fabricating emissions tests in some of its diesel-powered cars.

In the January-April period, imported car sales were up 1.6 percent to 75,017 from 73,844 in the year-ago period, the statement said.

Sales of imported diesel models plunged 23 percent year-over-year in the four months, while sales of gasoline and hybrid models soared 50 percent and 70 percent, it said.

The share of imported vehicles in the domestic passenger car market rose to 15.3 percent from 14.9 percent a year earlier, a KAIDA spokeswoman said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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