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(LEAD) Imported car sales fall in May on lower diesel model demand

All Headlines 15:32 June 07, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 5-6; REPLACES photo)

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea fell 0.5 percent last month from a year earlier on lower demand for diesel models, industry data showed Wednesday.

The number of newly registered foreign cars fell to 19,380 in May from 19,470 a year earlier, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) said in a statement.

Sales of diesel-powered vehicles fell 19 percent to 9,952 units last month from 12,238 units a year earlier, it said.

"South Korean customers bought fewer diesel models as the government plans to reduce fine dust emissions by reducing the operations of diesel vehicles, a major culprit of fine dust pollution," a KAIDA spokesman said.

The top three best-selling models last month were all gasoline-powered models -- Lexus ES300h, BMW's 118d Urban and Mercedes-Benz's E 220d sedans, the statement said.

In this photo taken on July 24, 2016, a Volkswagen vehicle parks in front of a dealership in southern Seoul, a day before the German carmaker voluntarily stopped selling its 79 models in South Korea due to the emissions cheating scandal. (Yonhap)

Sales of Audi and Volkswagen vehicles have been suspended here since July last year in the wake of the massive emissions cheating scandal.

Eight out of 10 imported vehicles sold here last month were from Europe and nearly 7 out of 10 were from Germany, it said.

In the January-May period, imported car sales rose 1.2 percent to 94,397 from 93,314 on-year, the statement said.

The share of imported vehicles in the domestic passenger car market rose to 15.14 percent in the first five months from 14.64 percent a year earlier, KAIDA said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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