Sales of imported luxury cars continued to grow despite a sharp drop in overall sales of imports last year, industry data showed Thursday, reflecting an apparent economic polarization among local consumers.
In 2016, the number of newly registered foreign-made vehicles each priced over 100 million won (US$87,600) came to 20,384, accounting for over 9 percent of the total 225,279 imported cars sold here, according to the data from the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).
No comparable figure was immediately available from the year before, but market observers noted sales of luxury cars had been on a steady rise over the past few years.
"The overall economic condition appears to have little effect on the spending of top income earners, and the sales numbers alone do not seem to reflect the difficult conditions facing the country," an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The apparent increase in sales of the top priced cars also came amid a 7.6 percent cut in the number of all imported cars sold here, though the on-year drop has largely been attributed to the emissions scandal that has led to the sales ban on 80 Audi and Volkswagen vehicles.
The most expensive imported car sold here in 2016 was the Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase, which sold two units, each priced at 690 million won.
Rolls-Royce also sold 51 other vehicles in South Korea last year, including the Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase, which carries a price tag of 480 million won.
The most sold high-end vehicle was the Mercedes-Benz S350d 4Matic, which sold 2,590 units, each priced at 139.5 million won. (Yonhap)