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Korea's auto export decline eases in July, domestic sales increase for 6 straight months 2020-08-18

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on August 17 that Korea’s automobile output and exports in July decreased 3.8 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, domestic sales went up 8.9 percent, increasing for the 6th consecutive month.

The number of vehicles produced by Korean automakers went down 3.8 percent to 345,711 units. The decrease was mainly attributable to a slowdown in overseas demand, but the decline eased due to rising domestic sales and export recovery.

Auto exports in July lost 11.7 percent to 181,362 units due to the coronavirus’ continuing effect. However, the export decline eased as sales in North America turned positive and the European market started to recover. Also, the export value went down by a smaller percentage (down 4.2 percent) due to the growth in export share of relatively high-priced eco-friendly vehicles and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

Outbound shipments of eco-friendly cars last month expanded 12.5 percent to 27,468 units. Growth in exports was led by electric vehicles (EVs), which jumped 105.1 percent to 12,511 units, and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), which gained 23.9 percent to 88 units. EVs posted the 36th consecutive month of year-on-year export growth.

Domestic sales increased 8.9 percent to 164,539 vehicles in July. This is the fifth consecutive month of growth. Sales of locally produced cars advanced 10.5 percent to 143,038 units, but those of imported vehicles slipped 0.7 percent to 21,501 units due to stagnant Japanese brands (down 39.6 percent).

Local sales of green cars went up 39.3 percent to 17,360 units. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs, up 62.1 percent to 13,610 units), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs, up 79.3 percent to 649 units), and FCEVs (up 98.9 percent to 700 units) led the expansion.

Korea’s July shipments of auto parts contracted 27.7 percent to $1.5 billion due to the inventory adjustment at finished car plants, but the decline also eased.

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