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Korea’s automobile industry sees decline in March 2018-04-12

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on April 12 that Korea’s automobile industry saw year-on-year decreases in exports, production, and domestic sales in March.
Automobile exports decreased 10.3 percent year-on-year to 223,855 vehicles. In terms of value, they shrank 8.6 percent to USD 3.8 billion. This decrease is attributable to expectations for release of new models in late spring and inventory adjustment at Korean automakers’ overseas plants. Exports of eco-friendly cars, on the other hand, jumped 29.2 percent to 19,290 units.

By region, shipments to North America decreased 20.2 percent to $1.5 billion, the Middle East 41.7 percent to $312 million, Central and South America 18.9 percent to $239 million, and Asia 35.8 percent to $180 million. In contrast, those to the European Union (EU) increased 32.1 percent to $887 million, Oceania 0.4 percent to $219 million, and the rest of Europe 40.3 percent to $267 million. 
The number of domestic vehicles produced by seven manufacturers (Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Ssangyong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors, Zyle Daewoo Bus, and Tata Daewoo) fell 10.7 percent year-on-year to 363,457 due to one fewer working day and slower exports.

The number of cars sold in Korea inched down 1.5 percent to 166,481 units mainly because of lower demand for mid-to-large trucks. While domestic sales of Korean cars shrunk 4.1 percent to 138,876 units, those of imported cars advanced 14.2 percent to 27,605 units. In addition, domestic sales of eco-friendly cars recorded 9,372 units, up 37.9 percent from March 2017.

Exports of automobile parts contracted 11.1 percent year-on-year to $1.9 billion. Shipments to North America and Asia decreased 9.2 percent to $662 million and 27.0 percent to $509 million, respectively, chiefly because sales and production of finished cars in those regions slowed down. Meanwhile, those to non-EU European countries and Central and South America increased 11.4 percent to $160 million and 18.8 percent to $103 million, respectively.

Between January and March 2018, the Korean automotive industry produced a total of 962,803 vehicles, down 7.5 percent from the same period in 2017. Domestic sales inched down 0.7 percent to 426,583 vehicles, and exports decreased 8.2 percent to 576,587 vehicles.

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