Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea rose by 1.4% to 23,755 units in June, from 23,435 units a year earlier, according to data from the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).

The association said the import sector growth was driven by Japanese made 'green' cars such as petrol-hybrid models while demand for imported diesel powered models continued to weaken as the government looks to reduce particulate emissions in the country.

European brands continued to dominate the import segment last month, however, even as their combined sales fell by 4.8% to 16,998 units, while Japanese brands enjoyed a 21% jump to 4,733 units.

In the first half of the year, sales of imported vehicles increased by 1.2% to 118,152 units, from 116,749 in the same period of last year, to account for 15.5% of the total vehicle market. 

Mercedes-Benz remained the leading import brand in the six month period with sales rising by to 37,723 units, followed by BMW with 28,998 units – helped by the launch of the new 5-series model earlier in the year.