[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]
South Korea returned to No. 5 rank in global auto production scale last year for the first time in five years as the country avoided lengthy lockdowns that hammered production lines in other countries.
According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) on Monday, automobile output from Korea totaled 3,506,848 units in 2020, down 11.2 percent from the previous year. Despite the fall in production, the country’s overall auto output ranking moved up two notches from last year to world’s fifth largest as auto makers in other countries suffered bigger losses in car production during the pandemic.
Korea ranked No. 5 before 2016 when it yielded the place to India.
China stayed at the top after a 2 percent on-year fall in output last year, followed by the United States (-19 percent), Japan (-16.7 percent), and Germany (-24.7 percent).
India and Mexico moved down one notch to the sixth and seventh with respective plunges of 24.9 percent and 21.2 percent.
Over the same period, global shipments fell 15.5 percent due to factory shutdowns and reduced orders from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reduced labor conflict in major automakers and a shift in focus to high value-added vehicles such as sport utility vehicles, premium cars and electrified cars helped boost Korean auto production, KAMA noted.
By Seo Dong-cheol and Lee Ha-yeon
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