SEOUL, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's passenger car exports jumped in the third quarter thanks to strong demand from Europe for compact vehicles, customs data showed Thursday.

Overseas shipments of passenger cars reached 9.4 billion U.S. dollars in the July-September quarter, up 30.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Customs Service.

The number of passenger cars exported in the quarter was 620,000, up 20.9 percent compared with a year ago.

The passenger car shipments rose for the second consecutive quarter mainly due to brisk sales in Europe of locally-made small cars, which more than tripled in the September quarter.

Demands from Spain and France were especially solid, with small car exports to the two European countries jumping 2,116.8 percent and 814.4 percent respectively.

Exports of large-sized gasoline vehicles also soared 28.6 percent in the quarter, leading to the overall export expansion.

The average export price of passenger cars stood at 15,111 dollars per unit in the quarter, up 7.6 percent from a year earlier.

The price for exported compact vehicles averaged 10,312 dollars in the third quarter, up from 6,456 dollars tallied a year ago.

Import of passenger vehicles increased 8.3 percent over the year to 2.2 billion dollars in the quarter. The number of imported cars advanced 14.5 percent to 70,000 in the same period.