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Imported car sales in S. Korea jump 14 pct in July
Sales of imported cars in South Korea jumped 14.3 percent in July from a year earlier, driven by strong demand for German vehicles, industry data showed Thursday.

According to the data by the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, 20,707 foreign vehicles were newly registered in the country last month, compared with the previous year's 18,112 units.

The July registration figure, however, was down 14.7 percent from a month earlier. 

The latest figure raised the cumulative sales of imported cars during the January-July period to 140,539 units, a 25.1 percent rise from the same period in 2014. 

Over 80 percent of foreign cars sold last month in South Korea were European brands, with Japanese and American brands taking up 12.2 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

In particular, German carmakers dominated the market, with their car sales representing 66.9 percent of the total. 

Mercedes-Benz topped the pack by selling 3,976 units, followed by its German rival BMW with 3,926 units. Volkswagen and Audi came next by selling 2,998 units and 2,617 units, respectively. 

The best-selling model was Audi's A6 35 TDI, with sales of 791 units, followed by Volkswagen's Tiguan 2.0 TDI BlueMotion with 670 units, the data showed. 

Vehicles with diesel engines remained the most popular, accounting for 69.2 percent of total registrations in July. 

Gasoline vehicles came in second with a 26.5 percent share, while hybrid and electric cars trailed with 3.8 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, the data showed.

In addition, the combined market share in Korea of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., the country's two leading auto giants, inched up 1.6 percentage points from the previous month to 68.9 percent in July, industry data showed.

This represented a rebound from a slide since April, when it reached its peak for the year at 69.4 percent. In particular, Kia Motors took up 30.7 percent of the July sales, the highest for this year.

Based on January-July cumulative sales, the two carmakers' combined market share stood at 67.7 percent in the domestic market, the data showed. (Yonhap)