Sales of imported light passenger vehicles in South Korea continued to plunge in May 2019, by almost 17% to 19,548 units from 23,470 units a year earlier, according to member data released by the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA).

Imported brands struggled to keep up with a resurgent Hyundai Motor, which continued to gain ground following the recent release of new models including the new Palisade and Santa Fe SUVs and the new Sonata passenger car.

The association pointed to a lack of available stock as a key factor for the huge underperformance on the part of the importers in the South Korean vehicle market. In particular, it cited a shortage of some Mercedes-Benz models as the main reason for the decline in imports.

In the first five months of the year, import sales were down by 23% at 89,928 units from 116,798 units in the same period last year, with their share of the overall passenger vehicle market falling to 14.7% from 18.3% a year ago.