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Korea's auto industry posts highest export growth

Publication Date : 12-07-2012


The automobile sector has led South Korea's exports during the first half of the year, offsetting worries over a sluggish performance amid the eurozone debt crisis.

According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, the nation’s vehicle exports increased by 15.7 per cent in the first half over the same period last year, marking the highest growth among the overall industries.

In addition, the ratio of vehicles to total exports climbed to 13.5 per cent from 11.9 per cent in the first half of 2011, the KAMA data showed.

The automotive industry includes two Korean companies, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, and three others ― GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and Ssangyong Motor ― that operate factories in Korea.

It is estimated that exports of vehicles and auto components came to about US$25 billion and $12.1 billion for the first six months of the year, the association said.

In particular, Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors are recording thriving performances in the North American market.

Hyundai and Kia saw their February sales in the US market reach all-time highs.

Hyundai Motor sold 51,151 units last month in the US, up 18 per cent from 43,533 units a year earlier. It is a record-high performance for the carmaker’s February sales.

Sales of the Sonata and Avante, called the Elantra in the US, came to 17,425 and 13,820 units, respectively.

Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, reported 37.3 per cent growth with sales of 45,038 units in the world’s biggest automobile market, compared to 32,806 units a year before.

The company’s performance also marked a record-high in terms of February sales.

The K5 sedan, dubbed the Optima in North America, took the lead in noteworthy sales. Kia sold 11,558 units of the midsize sedan. The year-on-year sales growth of the K5 came to 138.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor’s February sales at home and abroad came to 360,979 units, up 28.3 per cent from a month earlier.

Its domestic sales climbed 8.6 per cent. The Grandeur sedan was the best-selling model, followed by the Avante and the Sonata.

Its sales in overseas markets including exports surged by 32.5 per cent.

Kia Motors’ sales climbed 35.5 per cent on-year in February due to solid demand for its vehicles in overseas markets.

It sold 240,124 vehicles last month, compared with 177,276 units a year earlier, the company said in a statement. The figure also represents a 13.7 per cent gain from 211,116 vehicles sold by the company in January.


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