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Imported car sales rise in Feb. despite virus

Japanese auto brands hit hard

(Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association)
(Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association)

Even as the new coronavirus outbreak is dampening consumer sentiment, imported car sales bucked the trend in South Korea rising 5.3 percent in February on-year, latest data showed Wednesday.

According to Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, the number of newly registered imported cars in the country recorded 16,725 units in February.

For the first two months of this year, sales increased by 0.8 percent from the same period in 2019 -- from 34,083 units to 34,365 units.

Mercedes-Benz sold 4,815 units, maintaining its lead with sales up 33.3 percent on-year. The German carmaker sold 10,307 units in the January-February period, up 9.6 percent on-year.

BMW witnessed a 62.9 percent growth in its sales compared to last year in February, selling 3,812 units.

The increased sales of imported cars are in sharp contrast to the total sales of Korean automakers, which saw a decline of 21.7 percent compared to the previous year.

Renault Samsung Motors sold 3,673 units while GM Korea sold 4,978 units in February.

Japanese carmakers continued to struggle amid weaker consumer demand, triggered by the ongoing trade dispute between the two neighboring countries.

The number of Japanese auto brands sold here halved in February from a year earlier -- down 52.5 percent, scoring just slightly better than January.

Toyota and Lexus sold 512 units and 475 units, a decrease of 41.5 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

By Jo He-rim (