(ATTN: ADDS year-ago figure in 4th para)
SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. ranked third in first-quarter sales in South Korea's imported passenger vehicle market on strong demand for the Model 3, an industry association said Monday.
In the January-March period, Tesla sold a total of 4,070 vehicles in the South Korean import car market, following Mercedes-Benz's 15,400 unit sales and BMW's 11,331 unit sales, according to data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Tesla's sales jumped to 2,499 units in March from 1,433 in February and 138 in January helped by robust sales of the Model 3, the data showed.
The quarterly result is sharply up from the 230 units Tesla sold in Asia's fourth-biggest economy during the same period of 2019, a ministry official said.
Tesla reports its sales figures to the ministry as it is not a member of the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).
The Model 3 is priced at 53.69 million won (US$44,000) here but it can be purchased at lower prices with a government subsidy worth up to 8 million won.
Tesla's first-quarter sales accounted for 46 percent of 8,831 electric vehicles, including Hyundai Motor Co.'s Ioniq and Kia Motors Corp.'s Niro, sold in Korea in the first three months, the ministry said.
Other Tesla models sold in Korea include the Model S and Model X, which sell at the starting prices of 111 million won and 119 million won, respectively.
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