Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea jumped 22.4% to 16,959 in November, from 13,853 units in the same month of last year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers Distributors Association (KAIDA).

Sales in the first 11 months of the year were 24.4% higher at 179,239 units, compared with 144,092 a year earlier, with local car buyers increasingly looking for differentiation in a market that has been protected by non-tariff barriers for many years.

The association cited new models and de-stocking for the continued growth in new registrations last month.

BMW was the country’s best-selling import brand, accounting for over 20% of overall imports last month, according to KAIDA, followed by Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Mini. European brands combined accounted for 80% of total imports, followed by Japanese brands with 12.6% and US brands with 7.4%.