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Korea's auto exports value grows 25.3% in July 2022-08-16

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on August 16 that Korea’s automobile output, outbound shipments and exports value increased 9.1 percent, 23.1 percent, and 25.3 percent, respectively, while domestic sales contracted by 3.0 percent.

Amid persisting global supply chain uncertainties, the temporary abatement of the parts supply crisis has led to increases in both production and exports of finished cars. Meanwhile, domestic sales of Korean brands have remained largely static compared to those of the previous year, but reduced sales of foreign brands have caused an overall drop in domestic sales.

The number of units manufactured in Korea reached 324,668 vehicles (up 9.1 percent), crossing the 300,000 units threshold for five months straight, which is a first in three years since July 2019.

The month of July saw an increase of sales for all finished carmakers, and mid-size cars gained in double digits. The improvement is partially attributed to the momentary recovery of parts supply situation.

As for domestic sales, imported models suffered a 13.8 percent fall in sales to 21,441 units, and domestic brands just inched down 0.8 percent to 121,852 units, the former showing a decline for the 11th consecutive month.

In terms of exports, outbound shipments increased to 223,633 (up 23.1 percent) and exports value reached USD 5.1 billion, both recovering pre-COVID levels. The increase in shipments and historic exports record of eco-friendly cars drove exports value over the $5 billion mark for the first time, breaking the previous highest record set in December 2014.

By region, finished cars’ exports increased for the U.S. (up 35.7 percent to $2.4 billion), EU (up 4.0 percent to $0.8 billion), GCC (up 4.8 percent to $0.4 billion), Latin America (up 14.1 percent to $0.2 billion), Oceania (up 28.8 percent to $0.4 billion) and Asia (up 84.4 percent to $0.5 billion). Exports to Africa, however, shrank (down 7.2 percent to $42 million).

For eco-friendly cars, domestic sales (37,735 units) and exports (54,222 units) showed robust growth of 26.8 percent and 60.1 percent, respectively.

In particular, electric vehicles (EVs) broke all records by doubling in sales. As of July 2022, eco-friendly car sales entered the 1.4 million units thresholds, occupying 5.6 percent of total vehicles registered in Korea.

Domestic sales of Korean eco-friendly car brands soared 43.6 percent to 29,668 units but those of imported models shrank by 11.3 percent to 8,067 units. Only EVs increased (up 260.3 percent) among all imported vehicle types, resulting in a double-digit decline for three consecutive months.

As for exports of eco-friendly cars, outbound shipments jumped 60.1 percent to 54,222 units, while exports value climbed 50.6 percent to $1.5 billion. Both markers posted positive growth for the 19th consecutive month.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and EVs increased in double digits this month and surpassed 50,000 units in exports for the first time. This takes up 24.2 percent of total vehicle units exported by Korea.

In terms of value, July exports of eco-friendly cars entered into $1 billion thresholds for the 11th consecutive month, taking up 28.6 percent of total vehicles’ exports value.

Exports of car parts in July expanded by 2.1 percent to $2.0 billion as domestic brands flourished in spite of economic slowdowns.

By destination, car parts exports experienced gains to the U.S. (up 19.2 percent), EU up 5.2 percent), Latin America (up 20.5 percent) and Oceania (up 5.5 percent). Exports to the GCC (down 8.3 percent), Africa (down 29.5 percent) and Asia (down 0.9 percent) decreased.