South Korea’s automobile output and exports rose in April against a year ago while domestic sales fell due to waning demand in foreign cars.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Thursday, automobile output from Korea in April was estimated at 371,930 units, up 5 percent from a year earlier benefiting from longer working days and new releases.
The country’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. saw its total output rise 8 percent on year thanks to strong demand for its sport utility vehicle (SUV) model Palisade and subcompact Kona at home and abroad. Its sibling Kia Motors Corp.’s output also was up 3.8 percent as its newest Soul crossover and Niro electric vehicle have been well received outside Korea.
Ssangyong Motor Co.’s output jumped 29.3 percent on brisk sales of new models including the full-change version Korando crossover. Renault Samsung Motors Co., however, saw its output plunge 32.9 percent amid labor unrest.
Despite an increase in new releases, auto sales in Korea slipped 3.6 percent on year to 155,027 units in April mainly due to a sharp reversal in the import front. Imported car sales dipped 28.3 percent. Foreign brands’ share in the Korean auto market contracted to 12.6 percent from 16.9 percent on the same month last year.
Eco-friendly car sales at home soared 57.8 percent to 13,109 units against a year ago as orders sharply increased following the launch of government subsidy.
Korea exported total 223,235 cars worth $3.76 billion in April, up 3 percent in number and 5.8 percent in sum from the previous year, thanks to robust demand for eco-friendly cars and SUVs.
Exports to North America added 17.5 percent, European Union 2.7 percent, Eastern Europe 29.6 percent, and Africa 21.5 percent, while shipments to the Middle East lost 28 percent, Latin America 6.3 percent, Oceania 7.5 percent, and Asia 1.2 percent.
Overseas shipment of Renault Samsung Motors shriveled 53.4 percent on year due to phase-out of its mainstay Nissan Rogue SUV manufactured in Korea and reduced output from labor union’s extended walkout last month.
By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]