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(LEAD) Foreign car sales jump 5.9 pct in May

All News 15:00 June 07, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 5 paras)

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- Sales of foreign cars in South Korea rose 5.9 percent on-year in May as some importers secured a sufficient amount of popular car models to meet demand here, industry data showed Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, a total of 19,470 units of imported cars were registered last month, up from 18,386 units tallied in the previous year.

From a month earlier, May sales also spiked 9.1 percent, the data showed.

The upturn was attributed in part to some importers securing sufficient vehicles from overseas carmakers to meet the demand.

German brands continued to dominate the market.

BMW topped the pack by selling 4,651 cars in May.

Mercedes-Benz secured the second spot by selling 3,148 cars, followed by Audi with 2,336 units and Volkswagen with 2,326.

The Tiguan 2.0 TDI BlueMotion was the best seller among foreign cars in May with 769 units sold.

During the January-May period, cumulative foreign car sales came to 93,314 units, down 2.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, according to the data.

Reeling from an emission test scandal, Volkswagen and Audi saw their sales in the January-May period tumble here.

During the cited period, Volkswagen and Audi sold 10,629 and 10,246 units, respectively, down 25.7 percent and 17.4 percent from a year earlier.

The data also showed that imports of diesel vehicles sank 4.2 percent on-year to reach 61,991 units over the cited period.

Volkswagen's brand image has been tarnished since the so-called "dieselgate" scandal surfaced last year, when the automakers were found to have faked emissions results for some of their diesel models to meet the tight regulations in the United States. Massive recall plans were announced in major global markets.

In November, South Korean authorities fined the German car-making giant 14.1 billion won (US$12.5 million) and ordered a recall of the affected vehicles. Thousands of car owners have also started lawsuits to demand refunds and compensation, saying they were duped into buying the cars equipped with the defeat devices.


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