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Registered automobiles to top 18 million in Feb.

The number of registered automobiles in South Korea could top 18 million as early as next month.

The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said the number of registered automobiles in the country came in at 17.94 million units at the end of last year.

The ministry expects the number of registered automobiles to rise above the 18 million mark in February if the pace is maintained at last year’s levels.

Last year, the number of registered vehicles increased at a monthly average of about 51,000.

With the figure having increased by 616,000 across the year, 2010 saw the largest year-on-year increase since 2003 when the number of automobiles in Korea jumped by 637,000 units.

The number of new vehicles registered increased by a much larger number of 1.53 million units, up 2.8 percent from the 1.49 million units recorded in 2009.

Of last year’s total, imported vehicles accounted for about 100,000 units, up 40.6 percent from 2009, the new data showed on Thursday.

By vehicle type, passenger vehicles accounted for 75.9 percent of the total.

By region, Gyeonggi Province had the largest number of vehicles followed by Seoul and South Gyeongsang Province. According to the ministry’s data, 23.4 percent of all cars were registered within Gyeonggi Province, while those in Seoul and South Gyeongsang Province accounted for 16.6 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.

By Choi He-suk  (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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