Japanese car sale in S.Korea posts double-digit fall in 2019 on boycott campaign

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Japanese car sale in South Korea posted a double-digit fall in 2019 on ongoing campaign to boycott Japanese products and tour to Japan, industry data showed Monday.


Photo: VCG

The number of Japanese vehicles sold here was 36,661 in 2019, down 19.0 percent from the previous year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).

The sale of Japanese cars gained 10.3 percent in the first half of last year, but it tumbled 45.0 percent in the second half as Japan tightened control in July over its export to South Korea of three materials vital to producing memory chips and display panels.

In August, Japan dropped South Korea off its whitelist of trusted trading partners that are given preferential export procedure. In response, Seoul removed Tokyo from its whitelist of export partners.

South Korea believed that Japan's export curbs came in protest of the South Korean top court's rulings that ordered some of Japanese companies to pay reparation to the South Korean victims who were forced into hard labor without pay during the 1910-45 Japanese colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

The sale of the entire imported vehicles reached 244,780 units in 2019, down 6.1 percent from the previous year.

Mercedes-Benz ranked first with 78,133 vehicles sold here last year, up 10.4 percent from a year earlier. It was trailed by BMW that sold 44,191 vehicles here in 2019, down 12.5 percent from the prior year.

European cars were most popular with a market share of 75.2 percent. Japanese models ranked second with a share of 15.0 percent, followed by U.S. brands with a 9.8 percent share.

South Korean consumers favored foreign vehicles with an engine capacity of less than 2 liters, accounting for 66.8 percent of the total last year. Vehicles with an engine displacement of 2-3 liters took up 25.6 percent.