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Imported car sales jump 24 pct on new models in Oct.

South Korea's imported vehicle sales jumped 24 percent in October from a year earlier on high demand for new models, industry data showed on Nov. 5, 2018.

The total number of newly registered foreign vehicles climbed to 20,813 last month from 16,833 a year ago, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) said in a statement.

"Mercedes-Benz supplied E 300 models whose delivery has been delayed due to a lack of volume last month. Robust sales of the new Lexus ES300h sedan buoyed the monthly sales," a KAIDA spokeswoman said over the phone.

Customers chose Mercedes-Benz and Lexus models over BMW cars, which are still regarded as fire-prone vehicles due to faulty exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) components, an industry insider said.

In October, BMW vehicle sales plunged 52 percent to 2,131 units from 4,400 in the previous year. In contrast, Mercedes-Benz vehicle sales jumped 40 percent to 6,371 from 4,539 during the same period, the statement said.

BMW has yet to complete the recall of about 106,000 models with fire-prone EGR coolers and pipes, which runs until the end of this year. The German carmaker has been plagued by dozens of engine fires, mainly in its best-selling 520d sedan. BMW identified the EGR parts as the "root cause" of the fire incidents.

The three best-selling models for the one-month period were the Mercedes-Benz E 300 sedan, the Lexus ES300h sedan and the Mercedes-Benz E 300 4MATIC sedan, the statement said.

In the January-October period, the total number of imported cars sold in the country stood at 217,868, up 14 percent from 190,394 units a year ago. Imported carmakers accounted for 17.01 percent of the local passenger car market in the first 10 months, up from 15.17 percent a year earlier, KAIDA said. (Yonhap)

Cho Kyung-hee  edt@koeapost.com

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