The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 17 that exports of Korean automobile parts rose 6.6 percent year-on-year to USD 2.0 billion in April, thanks to a recovery in the Chinese market and to export growth in emerging economies.
A breakdown of auto part exports showed that outbound shipments to all major regions except North America increased. Nevertheless, North America remained as the biggest importer, purchasing $670 million worth of Korean auto parts.
However, overall auto exports and production showed a decline in the same period, the ministry said.
Auto exports declined 8.0 percent to 220,273 units in April, as some soon-to-be released models were not shipped, while automakers adjusted their inventories mostly in U.S. markets.
By region, exports to the EU and the rest of Europe rose, but the growth did not offset the overall reduction in exports to other regions, including North America, the Middle East, Central and Latin America, and Oceania. Total outbound auto shipments, in terms of dollar value, fell 8.6 percent to $3.6 billion year-on-year in April.
As for auto production, the figure fell 7.4 percent year-on-year to 354,156 units. The vehicles were manufactured by seven automakers: Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Ssangyong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors, Zyle Daewoo Bus, and Tata Daewoo. Inventory adjustments in overseas markets and production limitations due to weakening exports were the main factors, said the Ministry.
Meanwhile, auto sales in Korea for both domestic and foreign cars rose 4.7 percent, reaching 160,742 units in the period. Domestic sales of Korean automakers increased 1.4 percent to 133,575 units, and those of foreign car manufacturers expanded 24.4 percent to 27,167 units.
Domestic sales of eco-friendly vehicles rose 14.2 percent to 8,281 units year-on-year, thanks to strong sales of hybrid and electric vehicles. However, their exports fell 11.4 percent to 14,971 units, as there was weaker demand for Korean hybrid cars in overseas markets.