Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea fell by almost 15% to 17,222 units in September from 20,234 units a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).
The decline was in line with the broad-based fall in the South Korean domestic vehicle market and reflects a week-long shut-down of most industries and services across the country in the last week of the month due to the annual Chuseok holidays. Last year these holidays fell in October.
In the first nine months of the year, sales of imported cars were still 13.5% higher at 197,055 units from 173,561 units a year earlier, driven mainly by a strong rebound in Audi and Volkswagen sales after the two brands were forced out of the market in the wake of the emissions cover-up scandal that blew up in 2016.
The two brands sold 2,376 and 2,277 vehicles respectively last month, compared with close to zero a year earlier, while Mercedes-Benz sold 1,943 units.
BMW's sales plunged by 61% to 2,052 units in September from 5,299 a year earlier following a major recall in response to dozens of its diesel-powered cars having caught fire since the beginning of the year. Its sales year-to-date are still 3.3% higher at 42,962 units, however.