The sales of imported cars rose about 20% in the first 11 months of this year on the back of growing popularity of diesel-powered cars, industry data showed Tuesday. According to the data, 144,092 imported cars were sold in the country in the January-November period, surpassing last year's total sales of 130,858 units. The sales are expected to reach as high as 157,000 in this year's final count, according to South Korea's (Yonhap) News Agency. The fast rise was led by visible popularity of diesel-powered cars, which accounted for over 60% of the sales, data showed. In the first 11 months, 89,614 units of diesel-powered autos were sold, or 62.2% of the total. Dealers say diesel-propelled vehicles of European brands gained popularity from local consumers for their good gas mileage. By comparison, the number of gasoline-powered cars sold amounted to 49,278, or 34.2% of the total, with that of hybrid cars reaching 5,200, or 3.61%.