Imported car sales in South Korea surged 39.2 percent on-year in June on strong demand for overseas brands by consumers, a local trade association said Friday.
The monthly sales figure of 17,803 vehicles represents a 16.3 percent jump from 15,314 units sold the month before, the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA) said.
It is also a new monthly high, surpassing the previous record of 16,712 set in April.
The total is equal to a little under 2.4 percent of 750,381 new cars sold in the country last month. This figure includes cars sold by the five local carmakers, including Hyundai Motor Co. and Renault Samsung Motors Co., and all import brands.
"The sharp rise comes as companies resolved supply problems that held back sales, more aggressive marketing and the introduction of new car models," said Yoon Dae-sung, the association's executive manager.
For the first half, sales of new foreign cars reached 94,263 units, up a solid 26.5 percent from last year. The annual car sales of imported brands had hit an all-time high of 156,497 in 2013.
German luxury brand BMW ranked No. 1, with Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Ford rounding out the top five. BMW's British affiliate, the Mini, came in sixth with Japanese carmakers Lexus and Toyota coming in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Land Rover and Chrysler-Jeep completed the 10 best-selling car brands during the month.
European cars, helped by popular demand for economical diesel engines, accounted for 81 percent of total sales last month, followed by 12.6 percent for Japanese cars and the rest for U.S. brands. By type of engine, 67.8 percent were diesel powertrains, with gasoline making up 28.2 percent, with the rest by hybrids.
By engine size, 55.7 percent of foreign cars sold were smaller than 2,000 cubic centimeters (cc), with those ranging between 2,000 cc and 3,000 cc making up 34.5 percent of the total.
The BMW's 520d sold 711 units, making it the best seller last month, followed by the Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI BlueMotion, which reported sales of 652 units. The Audi A6 2.0 TDI, also made the top three list with 504 units sold.
KAIDA said private buyers accounted for 60.3 percent of imported car sales, or 10,743, with the rest being bought by companies.