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Imported car sales down 24 pct in Dec. amid chip shortages

Industry 10:44 January 05, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea plunged 24 percent in December from a year earlier as chip shortages continued to disrupt vehicle production, an industry association said Wednesday.

The number of newly registered foreign vehicles fell to 23,904 units last month from 31,419 units a year ago, the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) said in a statement.

"Chip supply issues continued to weigh on vehicle sales last month despite a variety of new models, aggressive marketing and individual consumption tax cuts," KAIDA said.

The bestselling models last month were Mercedes-Benz's E 250 sedan, Lexus ES300h sedan and BMW's 520 sedan, it said.

In December, three German brands -- Audi-Volkswagen Korea, BMW Group Korea and Mercedes-Benz Korea -- sold a combined 16,542 units, down 24 percent from 21,830 the previous year.

German cars accounted for seven out of 10 imported vehicles sold in Asia's fourth-biggest economy last month, KAIDA said.

Three Japanese carmakers -- Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and its independent brand, Lexus -- sold a combined 1,567 units, down 32 percent from 2,314 during the same period.

For the whole of 2021, imported carmakers sold 276,146 autos here, up 0.5 percent from 274,859 units a year earlier.

Import brands accounted for 15.35 percent of the Korean passenger vehicle market in November, down from 18.22 percent a year ago. Their market share for December will be available next month, KAIDA said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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