The imported car market in South Korea is getting rapidly frozen partly because the Korean government has made stunt measures against illegal behaviors of foreign car importers and distributors, in particular, targeting Volkswagen mired in the fake emissions scandal.
The Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) on August 4 announced that 15,730 imported cars were newly registered in South Korean market in July, down 24 percent from the same month last year. The drop was sharper than that of local carmakers of 5.2 percent in the same month. The sales in July also showed a 32.9 percent decrease from a month earlier.
The accumulated import car sales up to July this year stood at 132,479 units, down 5.7 percent from 140,539 during the same period of last year.
In July, Mercedes-Benz registered newly 4,184 cars, followed by BMW with 2,638, Audi with 1,504, Ford with 1,008, Land Rover with 847, Lexus with 741, Toyota with 677, MINI 647, Volvo with 453, Volkswagen with 425, Honda with 412, Chrysler with 411, Nissan with 382, Peugeot with 370, Jaguar with 331, Porsche with 308, Infiniti with 222, Cadillac with 60, Citroen with 58, Fiat with 40, Bentley with 8, and Rolls-Royce with 4.
In particular, Volkswagen sold only 425 cars in the Korean market, down 85.8 percent from a year earlier, to be ranked 10th that is the lowest ever since its presence here. The sales of Audi brands also dropped 42.5 percent year on year to 1,504 cars.
The top three best-selling models in July were Mercedes-Benz E300 (1,133 units), BMW 520d (448 units) and Mercedes-Benz C220d (445 units).
Yoon Dae-sung, director of the KAIDA, said, “The slowness of import car market in July was attributable to the expiration of consumer tax-cut benefit and the sales decrease of some brands.”
The June 30 termination of the tax incentive has been known to lead the drop in sales of locally produced cars as well as imported cars.