Korea's auto imports top $10 bln in 2015 for first time: data

Korea's auto imports top $10 bln in 2015 for first time: data

South Korea’s annual imports of automobiles topped $10 billion in 2015 for the first time since the country opened its market to foreign brands nearly three decades ago, government and industry data showed Wednesday.

According to the data by the commerce ministry and the auto industry, South Korea imported a total of $9.49 billion worth of passenger vehicles from Jan. 1 to Dec. 20 last year.

If imports of trucks and other non-passenger vehicles estimated at $749.4 million until November are included, the total amount already comes to $10.24 billion.

This is the first time that annual auto imports surpassed the $10 billion mark since the automobile market of South Korea was open to foreign brands in 1987.

Until November last year, passenger vehicle imports jumped 21.8 percent from the same time a year earlier, while imports of non-passenger vehicles dropped 18.8 percent, the data showed.

Cars ranked sixth in terms of value of imports last year.

Except for crude oil, natural gas and other oil-related products, automobiles became one of the country’s three major import items, along with semiconductors and wireless communication devices.

Though no full-year sales figures are available, car imports by South Korea came to 219,534 units until November last year, up 22.5 percent from a year earlier, industry data showed. (Yonhap)


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