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Korea’s car exports rise in value in May, thanks to green cars, SUVs 2018-06-15

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 15 that the value of both car and car part exports saw year-on-year growth in May, while the export volume inched downward.
Cars and car part exports increased in terms of dollar value by 1.9 percent to USD 3.6 billion and by 14.7 percent to $2.1 billion, respectively. One of the factors that influenced this rise is higher sales prices, as more eco-friendly cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) were shipped. Exports of eco-friendly cars jumped 3.3 percent to 15,304 units. Car part exports grew on the back of growing demand from the U.S. and China.

In terms of volume, the Korean auto industry saw a 1.3 percent decrease in the number of units produced to 354,595 vehicles, and a 2.2 percent decline in exported units to 211,959. The rate of decline continued a downward trend since February when production and exports dropped 17.6 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively.

By region, shipments to the European Union (EU) increased 47.5 percent to $912 million and to the rest of Europe by 42.6 percent to $283 million. On the other hand, those to North America declined by 10.7 percent to $1.3 billion, to the Middle East declined by 43.4 percent to $278 million, to Central and South America by 12.9 percent to $248 million, to Oceania by 14.2 percent to $232 million, and to the rest of Asia by 9.7 percent to $153 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 1.3 percent year-on-year to 354,595 units, due to the discontinuation of some models, and slower exports and domestic purchases.

The number of cars sold in Korea increased 1.3 percent to 157,771 units, as stronger demand for imported vehicles outweighed weaker sales of Korean cars. While domestic sales of Korean cars shrunk by 2.0 percent to 131,638 units, those of imported cars grew by 21.7 percent to 26,133 units. In addition, domestic sales of eco-friendly cars recorded 10,032 units, up 25.5 percent from May 2017.

Exports of automobile parts grew to most regions except Oceania, which saw a 31.8 percent decrease to $9 million. Shipments to North America and Asia rose 4.6 percent to $695 million and 9.7 percent to $514 million, respectively. Those to the EU and China advanced 17.4 percent to $423 million and 48.6 percent to $269 million, respectively. Those to non-EU European countries and to Central and South America increased 28.0 percent to $153 million and by 6.3 percent to $103 million, respectively.

Between January and May 2018, the Korean automotive industry produced a total of 1,668,561 vehicles, down 6.2 percent from the same period in 2017. Over that time frame, domestic sales inched down 0.9 percent to 745,096 vehicles, and exports decreased 7.5 percent to 1,002,438 vehicles.

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