One out six cars on Korean roads is a foreign brand after a double-digit growth in imports last year despite fire-catching BMW scare.
According to data released by the Korea Automobile Import & Distributors Association on Friday, total 260,705 import vehicles were newly registered in Korea in 2018, up 11.8 percent from the previous year. It was the first time for the figure to exceed the 260,000 mark. Foreign names accounted for 16.7 percent in the local market, the largest share since 2015 with 15.5 percent.
The best-selling brand was Mercedes-Benz with 70,798 units, maintaining its top position for two years in a row. BMW came in second with 50,524 units, but falling 15.3 percent on year due to a massive recall after a series of incidents where engines of its cars caught fire. Sales of Toyota surged 43 percent to 16,774 units, followed by Volkswagen with 15,390, Lexus 13,340, Audi 12,450, Land Lover 11,772 and Ford 11,586.
Gasoline-fueled cars were sold 123,272 units, accounting for 47.3 percent in the market while diesel cars took up 41 percent with sales of 106,881 units. Industry watchers believe that vehicles running on diesel are losing popularity due to the BMW’s fire incidents. Last year, diesel-powered cars were sold more than gasoline-fueled peers.
The top selling model was Mercedes-Benz E300 4MATIC with sales totaling 9,141 units, followed by Lexus ES300h with 8,803 units, Benz E300 8,726, BMW 520d 7,696 and Benz E200 7,195.
By Yong Hwan-jin and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]