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Korean auto industry sees improvement in exports, production in April 2019-05-16

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 16 that the Korean auto industry exported 223,235 vehicles in April, up 3 percent from a year earlier.
The improvement in exports was largely due to robust sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and eco-friendly vehicles in North America and Europe. In terms of value, exports grew 5.8 percent year-on-year to USD 3.8 billion.

Outbound shipments of green cars were particularly strong as they amounted to 20,281 units. This 39.3 percent year-on-year growth was largely attributable to growing demand for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) in North America and Europe. Overall, exports of HEVs rose 22.9 percent to 13,694 units and those of EVs grew 243.4 percent to 5,017 units. The number of hydrogen vehicles shipped abroad increased by 108 units.

The number of vehicles produced by Korean automobile manufacturers also advanced 5 percent to 371,930 vehicles, turning to growth for the first time in three months. Car models newly introduced in the first quarter and more working days last month contributed to the greater output. The local carmakers are Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Ssangyong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors, Zyle Daewoo Bus, and Tata Daewoo.

On the other hand, domestic sales dropped 3.6 percent to 155,027 units. While Korean-made cars saw a sales growth of 1.5 percent, imported vehicles experienced a sales decrease of 28.3 percent. Sales of foreign-made vehicles were affected by an inventory shortage.

Meanwhile, the number of environment-friendly cars sold in Korea jumped 57.8 percent to 13,109 units, accounting for 8.4 percent of total passenger car sales. Specifically, local sales of hydrogen vehicles soared 611.8 percent and those of EVs rose 151.2 percent.

Exports of auto parts recorded $2 billion, maintaining the same level as they did in April 2018. Growth was seen in shipments to North America (up 6.8 percent to $716 million) and East Europe (up 34.3 percent to $210 million), but this expansion was offset by declined exports to Asia (down 9.7 percent to $477 million) and the Middle East (down 34.0 percent to $100 million).

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