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Sales Of Imported High-End Cars In Korea Increased in 2016

By February 16, 2017 at 6:49 am
The prolonged economic downturn did not stop the sales growth of imported luxury vehicles in South Korea in 2016. (Photo : Getty Images)

Imported luxury cars are increasingly becoming popular among South Koreans as sales continued to expand last year despite a sizable decline in overall sales of imports in 2016, according to industry data released Thursday.

Of the 225,279 foreign-made vehicles sold in the country in 2016, a total of 20,384 were newly registered imported vehicles each priced over 100 million won, accounting for more than 9 percent, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).

No data was immediately available for last year making comparison not possible, although market watchers observed that sales of luxury cars had been steadily growing over the past few years.

Despite an extended economic downturn, sales of imported luxury vehicles climbed in the first 10 months of 2016, data from KAIDA showed.

Sales of imported luxury cars came at 136,523 vehicles in the January to October period, or a gain of 3.2 percent on year. During the same period, sales of all imported cars stood at 185,801 units, dropping by 5.5 percent on year.

The sales growth of high-end cars for the entire 2016 also came amid a 7.6 percent drop in sales of all imported vehicles in South Korea, although the decline from 2015 was primarily due to the emissions scandal resulting to a sales ban on Audi and Volkswagen cars in August last year.

Sales of Audi vehicles tumbled 38 percent on year in the January to October period as parent company Volkswagen was ordered by the Korean government to stop sales of most Volkswagen vehicles.

The Mercedes-Benz S350d 4Matic was the most sold imported luxury car last year with 2,590 units sold. The vehicle costs 139.5 million won each.

South Korea is becoming a key market for Europe's luxury carmakers. Sales of imported premium cars priced above 100 million won in South Korea reached 22,844 units in 2015, climbing 52.5 percent from the previous year. Foreign-made luxury cars accounted for 9.3 per cent of all imported cars sold in the country in 2015.

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