Here is a fairly stunning statistic: South Koreans, long viewed as among the most nationalistic of car buyers, are on track to spend more on vehicle imports from Europe this year than their country takes in from its own vehicle exports.
That's according to The New York Times, which reviewed customs data for the first nine months of the year.
High-priced German brands have come on like gangbusters in a country where imports were minuscule until a 2011 free-trade deal eliminated duties on vehicles from Europe.
The Times says imports now account for 14 percent of sales in the country, up from 3 percent a decade ago.
And German models make up 71 percent of the foreign vehicles that are sold in South Korea.
The value of imports from Europe is up 60 percent to $4.6 billion through September, compared with exports of $4.4 billion.
What's changed in South Korea -- besides the free trade deal, that is?
"The driving force of imported cars has been diesel engines, younger customers in their 30s and luxury brands," Yoon Dae-sung, an executive at the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association, told the The Times.