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Imported car sales rise 14 % in Nov. on new models

Imported car sales in South Korea rose 14 percent on-year last month, helped by new models, industry data showed Wednesday.

The number of newly registered foreign vehicles rose to 25,514 units in November, up from 22,387 a year earlier, the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association said in a statement.

German carmakers, including Audi-Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, posted a 30-percent on-year jump last month. Their combined sales climbed to 16,459 in November from 12,688 a year ago, the statement said.


The three best-selling models were Volkswagen's Tiguan 2.0 TD sport-utility vehicle, Audi's Q7 45 TFSI SUV and the Audi A6 45 TFSI quattro sedan, it said. 

In contrast, Japanese carmakers, like Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., saw their sales plunge 56 percent to 2,357 units from 5,402 during the same period amid an extended boycott of the neighboring country's goods. 

In July, Japan tightened regulations on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials critical for the production of semiconductors and displays. In August, Japan officially removed South Korea from its list of countries given preferential treatment in trade procedures.

South Korea views the Japanese moves as retaliation against last year's South Korean Supreme Court rulings ordering Japanese firms to compensate South Korean victims of forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

From January to November, imported car sales fell 11 percent to 214,708 units from 204,255 in the year-ago period, KAIDA said.

Imported cars accounted for 15.56 percent of the domestic passenger car market in the first 11 months, down from 16.92 percent a year ago, it said.