Sales of imported light passenger vehicles in South Korea declined by 3.1% to 17,640 in January 2020 from 18,198 units in the same month of the previous year, according to member data released by the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association.

This decline follows strong year on year gains in December and came as domestic automaker sales plunged by 15% in January due mainly to a shortage of inventory at Hyundai Motor. 

Sales of all German brands combined rose by 7.3% to 10,815 units last month, from 10,076 units a year earlier, with Mercedes-Benz reporting a 5.2% decline to 5,492 units and BMW just a slight fall to 2,708 units.

Volkswagen continued to rebuild its market presence following the emission cover up scandal a few years ago with sales more than quadrupling to 1,753 units from 404 a year earlier.

Audi sales rose by 9% to 763 units while Porsche volume plunged 78% to 99 units.

Japanese brands continued to suffer from a broad based consumer boycott after the two countries fell out last year over trade restrictions on key technology imposed by Japan and demands for that country to provide further compensation to South Korean World War II victims.

Combined sales of Japanese brands fell by almost 65% to 1,320 units last month from 3,752 units over the full year.