The number of newly-registered foreign vehicles in South Korea jumped to an all-time monthly high in March from a year earlier, driven by aggressive marketing and sales promotion by major brands, industry data showed Monday.
According to the data by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, 22,280 foreign vehicles were registered last month, up 41.6 percent from a year earlier.
The figure marks the largest-ever total recorded in a month. The previous monthly record was the 19,930 units tallied in January.
The hike is attributed to "aggressive" marketing and promotion efforts by major brands and more available vehicles being shipped from their headquarters to the Korean market.
BMW topped the list by selling 4,003 cars, followed by Audi and Mercedes-Benz with 3,895 units and 3,639 units, respectively. Volkswagen came next with 3,264 units.
By country, European vehicles accounted for 80.6 percent, while Japanese and American cars took up 12.2 percent and 7.2 percent, the data showed.
The best-selling foreign car was Volkswagen's Tiguan 2.0 TDI BlueMotion with 1,046 units sold last year.
In the first quarter of this year, cumulative foreign car registration came to 58,969 units, up 32.7 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The brisks sales of foreign brands seemed to be hurting local automakers.
Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., the two leading carmakers in South Korea, saw their market share here drop from 68.1 percent in February to 66.7 percent in March.
In the first quarter, their combined market share stood at 66.9 percent, lower than 69.3 percent tallied at the end of last year, according to industry data. (Yonhap)