SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) — Sales of imported vehicles in South Korea jumped 12 percent in April from a year earlier on robust sales of German cars, an industry association said Thursday.

The number of newly registered foreign vehicles climbed to 25,578 units last month from 22,945 a year ago despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) said in a statement.

The three bestselling models last month were Mercedes-Benz’s E 250 sedan, E350 4MATIC sedan and GLE 450 4MATIC SUV.

In April, three German brands — Audi-Volkswagen Korea, BMW Group Korea and Mercedes-Benz Korea — sold a combined 17,921 units, up 10 percent from 16,274 the previous year. German cars accounted for 7 out of 10 imported vehicles sold in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy last month, KAIDA said.

This file photo, taken Oct. 13, 2020, and provided by Mercedes-Benz Korea, shows the upgraded E-Class sedan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Three Japanese carmakers — Honda Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and its independent brand Lexus — reported improved sales last month after struggling with weak sales in recent months due to a protracted trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.

Their sales rose 26 percent to 1,584 units in April from 1,259 a year earlier.

From January to April, imported carmakers sold a total of 97,486 autos, up 26 percent from 77,614 units in the same period of last year.

German brands saw their sales jump 37 percent to 69,153 units from 50,367 during the same period, while Japanese carmakers’ sales increased 0.6 percent to 5,667 units from 5,636.

Imported brands accounted for 19.11 percent of the Korean passenger vehicle market in March, up from 13.66 percent a year ago. Their market share for April will be available next month, KAIDA said.