Sales of imported cars have dwindled in upscale districts in Seoul despite an overall surge this year, dealers said Monday.
According to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, a total of 51,664 imported cars were sold across the country in the first half of the year, up 23.2 percent on-year.
Sales grew 13 to 128 percent in 14 of 16 provincial and metropolitan regions, except Seoul and Busan, but only 10,567 imported cars were sold in Seoul in the first half, up a mere 7.9 percent on-year.
The sales growth was lower in Seoul because sales in the three upscale districts of Gangnam, Seocho and Songpa, which accounted for nearly a half of total sales in Seoul, were down.
The three districts took the top spots among Seoul's 25 districts last year in terms of the amount of property tax paid. A total of 4,926 imported cars were sold there in the first half of last year, accounting for 50.3 percent of the 9,795 imported cars sold throughout the city.
But this year just 4,779 imported cars were sold there, reducing their market share to 45.2 percent.
The sales growth rate slowed down there because people elsewhere bought more cheaper imports, according to Lee Hang-koo of the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.