Foreign vehicle brands in South Korea saw a large boost to their sales last month, flashing a green light to their goal of selling over 100,000 cars in the local market for the first time, a local trade association said Tuesday.
A total of 8,659 imported vehicles were sold here in January, up 35.8 percent from the same period last year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).
The figure also marks a 4.4 percent increase from December when 8,294 foreign vehicles were sold.
There are 23 foreign automakers with official dealers in South Korea, and they enjoyed a record in 2010 as their combined sales here jumped 48.5 percent on-year to 90,562 units.
A KAIDA official attributed last month's sales increase to aggressive marketing by the auto brands.
"Sales in January increased on the introduction of new vehicles and active market promotion by different brands," Yoon Dae-sung said.
Mercedes-Benz recuperated to take the position of top-selling brand in South Korea with 1,750 vehicles sold in January, accounting for little over 20 percent of entire sales by all foreign brands, according to KAIDA.
BMW was second with 1,517 units sold, followed by Volkswagen with 1,243 units and Audi, 863.
The data released by KAIDA also showed South Korean customers were apparently growing more distinctive in their taste as sales of compact cars and high-end luxury vehicles rose while those of mid-size sedans dropped.
Sales of vehicles with a 2.0-liter or smaller engine rose 73.7 percent on-year to 3,178 units last month while those of cars with an engine displacement between 2.0 and 3.0 liters dropped 1.3 percent to 2,745 units. Sales of vehicles with an engine displacement between 3.0 and 4.0 liters rose 61 percent to 2,193 units.