Imported car sales in South Korea rose 6.2 percent on-year last month helped by new models, but Japanese brands still struggled feeling the pinch of a boycott amid trade tensions between Seoul and Tokyo, industry data showed Nov. 5.
The number of newly registered foreign vehicles rose to 22,101 units in October, up from 20,813 a year earlier. But Japanese vehicle sales plunged 58 percent to 1,977 from 4,756 during the same period, the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association said in a statement.
In Korea, three Japanese carmakers -- Toyota Motor, Honda Motor and Nissan Motor -- sell their vehicles under five different marques of Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Nissan and Infiniti.
“Japanese vehicle sales have remained weak since July as consumers choose non-Japanese brands with no signs of a breakthrough in the ongoing trade tensions between the two neighboring countries,” a KAIDA spokeswoman said.
As Japanese brands are attempting to revive their sales through aggressive marketing activities, sales of some brands are recovering helped by promotions, she said.
In contrast, German carmakers, including Audi-Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, posted a 48 percent on-year jump last month.
Their combined sales jumped to 14,997 in October from 10,159 a year ago, the data said.
German brands delivered some new models – Audi’s A3 and A6 sedan; Mercedes-Ben’s S350d sedan, high-performance AMG GT model and EQC 400 4MATIC SUV; and Volkswagen’s Tiguan SUV -- in the Korean market last month, driving up the overall monthly sales figure, the statement said.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)