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Korea’s auto exports, production grow at double-digit rates in December 2018 2019-01-23

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on January 18 that Korea's automobile exports and production in December 2018 grew at double-digit rates compared to a year earlier.
Automobile exports last month increased 22.6 percent year-on-year to 219,313 vehicles due to newly introduced models, a base effect, and higher demand for eco-friendly cars. The number of green cars shipped overseas jumped 70.8 percent to 22,933 vehicles.

The number of domestic vehicles produced by Korea's seven manufacturers went up 24.2 percent to 356,940 units. Increased exports and newly launched cars, including sports utility vehicles (SUVs), contributed to this expansion. The seven domestic automakers are Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Ssangyong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors, Zyle Daewoo Bus, and Tata Daewoo.

Domestic sales of automobiles also climbed up 4.1 percent to 159,864 units, thanks to new car models, tax reduction, and active marketing activities. The number of environment-friendly cars sold in Korea amounted to 12,374 units, up 19.3 percent. Sales of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) were strong.

For year 2018, exports and production of automobiles slightly decreased while domestic sales inched up.

The number of vehicles manufactured in 2018 by the Korean automakers slipped 2.1 percent to 4.0 million vehicles mainly because of a slowdown in domestic sales and exports. The temporary shutdown of some of the factories also affected the output.

Car exports also declined 3.2 percent to 2.4 million units. In terms of value, they only decreased 1.9 percent because shipments increased for relatively more expansive vehicles such as electric vehicles and SUVs. Outbound shipments of eco-friendly cars improved 10.1 percent to 195,361 vehicles, taking up 8.0 percent of the total auto exports.

Automobiles sales in Korea climbed up 1.1 percent to 1.8 million vehicles. This is attributable to newly introduced cars, tax cuts, and increased marketing activities. The domestic sales of locally produced cars edged down 0.7 percent to 1.5 million units because of falling demand for most segments but SUVs. Meanwhile those of imported cars gained 12.0 percent to 281,000 units. The number of green cars sold in Korea leaped 26.3 percent to 123,601 units, which is responsible for 6.8 percent of the total car sales in Korea. This growth could be partly explained by government subsidies.

By classification, the proportion of SUVs, subcompact cars, and full-sized cars increased in auto exports while that of compact cars and mid-size cars decreased. In particular, SUV exports made up 59.2 percent of the total car exports, up 6.7% from the year before.

By region, exports to East Europe, the EU, and Africa increased while those to North America, Central and South America, the Middle East, and Asia decreased.

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