Imported car sales up 1 pct in August amid pandemic

SEOUL-- Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea rose 1 percent in August from a year earlier amid the extended COVID-19 pandemic, an industry association said Friday.

The number of newly registered foreign vehicles rose to 22,116 units last month from 21,894 a year ago, the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) said in a statement.

The three bestselling models last month were Mercedes-Benz's E 250 sedan, Volkswagen's Tiguan 2.0 TDI SUV and General Motors' Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck.

In August, three German brands -- Audi-Volkswagen Korea, BMW Group Korea and Mercedes-Benz Korea -- sold a combined 15,251 units, down 8.9 percent from 16,739 the previous year. German cars accounted for 7 out of 10 imported vehicles sold in Asia's fourth-biggest economy last month, KAIDA said.

Three Japanese carmakers -- Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and its independent brand Lexus -- continued to report improved sales last month following years of weak sales due to a protracted trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Their sales jumped 36 percent to 1,918 units in August from 1,413 a year earlier.

From January to August, imported carmakers sold 194,262 autos, up 14 percent from 169,908 units in the same period of last year.

Import brands accounted for 19.28 percent of the Korean passenger vehicle market in July, up from 14.09 percent a year ago. Their market share for August will be available next month, KAIDA said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency