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Mercedes-Benz outshines in Korean auto market in September

All Headlines 11:25 October 06, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- Mercedes-Benz ranked third in September sales after Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., beating three other domestic carmakers, industry data showed Sunday.

The German carmaker sold 7,707 vehicles in the Korean passenger car market last month, a whopping rise from 1,943 units a year earlier, according to data from the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors sold a combined 92,144 units last month, up 4.4 percent from 88,294 a year ago.

The two South Korean carmakers accounted for 67 percent of the local auto market, followed by Mercedes Benz and three other domestic carmakers -- GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co., the data showed.

For Mercedes-Benz, South Korea is its fifth-biggest market after China, the United States, Germany and Britain in terms of sales.

Last month, 6 out of 10 imported vehicles sold in Korea were from Germany and the Mercedes-Benz E 300 sedan and the Mercedes-Benz E 300 4MATIC sedan were among the three best-selling imported brand models, KAIDA said.

The German carmaker's stellar performance was mainly helped by a sharp decline in Japanese vehicle sales.

Japanese carmakers like Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. suffered a sharp drop in their sales in Asia's fourth-biggest economy last month due to growing anti-Japan sentiment.

In July, Japan tightened regulations on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials crucial for the production of semiconductors and displays. In August, Japan officially removed South Korea from its list of countries given preferential treatment in trade procedures.

Japan's move is seen as a retaliatory measure against a Seoul court ruling that ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Korean workers forced into labor during World War II.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan sold a combined 634 units in September, plunging 74 percent from 2,431 a year earlier. Lexus, Toyota's independent luxury brand, was the only Japanese brand that posted a sales gain last month, with its sales rising 50 percent to 469 from 313 during the same period.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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