Sales of imported light passenger vehicles in South Korea jumped by almost 21% to 21,894 units in August 2020 from 18,122 in the same month of last year, according to member data released by the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA).

That compared with the 5.6% sales rise by the five main domestic vehicle manufacturers, following significant new model launches over the last year by leading brands such as Hyundai and Kia. 

In the first eight months of 2020, sales of imported vehicles increased by almost 15% to 169,908 units compared with 146,889 units in the same period of last year. German brands continued to dominate this segment, with combined sales rising by over 38% to 113,439 units to account for two thirds of total imports. 

Mercedes-Benz remained the leading import brand, albeit with sales rising by less than 1% to 47,613 units year to date. The company plans to strengthen its line-up with the launch of three new SUV models in the next two months – including the GLB, the GLA and GLE Coupe models.

BMW reported a more than 40% sales rise to 36,498 units as the company continued to recover from a damaging recall campaign in 2018. Volkswagen has also made good progress in rebuilding its market presence, with its eight month sales rising by 124% to 9,404 units, while Audi sales jumped almost fourfold to 14,443 units and Porsche sales were up 84% at 5,841 units.

Japanese brands continued to suffer from a broad based consumer boycott after a diplomatic spat broke out between the two countries last year.

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By GlobalData

Their combined sales fell by almost 53% to 13,070 units year to date, with Lexus down by over 49% to 5,049.