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Korean carmakers record 10.8% sales rise in March

Sales of five automakers in Korea rose 10.8 percent in March from a year earlier on strong demands for new vehicles in both domestic and overseas markets, the companies said Friday.

The combined sales of the automakers came to 649,994 units, compared with 586,561 units sold in March 2010. Domestic sales rose 8.1 percent on-year to 133,273 units in March with overseas sales also soaring 11.5 percent to 515,721 units, they said.

Industry leader Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. enjoyed strong gains in the local market with their combined domestic sales coming to 108,113 units, or 81.1 percent of all new passenger vehicles sold here last month.

The companies’ joint market share was at 78.9 percent a year ago.

Hyundai’s global sales rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier to 324,959 vehicles, compared with 319,553 units sold in March 2010. Its domestic sales rose 4.6 percent on-year to 62,013 units with overseas sales also rising 1 percent to 262,946 units.

Kia Motors, the second-largest automaker in the country, also enjoyed a steady growth of sales in both domestic and overseas markets with its sales here soaring 23.1 percent from a year earlier to 46,100 units and overseas sales rising 32.2 percent on-year to 135,096 units.

Smaller automakers still made important strides as they, too, posted significant growth in both domestic sales and exports.

GM Korea Co., the Korean unit of U.S. automaker General Motors Co., said its sales in March rose 7.8 percent from a year ago on brisk sales of its newly launched Chevrolet vehicles in the domestic market.

The company sold 67,552 vehicles last month, compared with 62,641 units sold during the same period last year. Domestic sales shot up 30 percent to 12,265 units with exports rising 3.9 percent on-year to 55,287 units.

“Our great sales performance in March sends a very positive signal that Chevrolet will be a strong, successful brand in Korea,” said Arora Ankush, GM Korea vice president of vehicle sales, marketing and service.

GM Korea, formerly GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, replaced all its vehicles with Chevrolet brand, introducing three Chevrolet vehicles ― the Orlando, the Aveo and the Camaro ― in February.

The company is set to unveil another Chevrolet model, the Captiva, early next week, and four others throughout the year.

“We expect domestic demand to maintain its rapid pace of growth through competitive models, which are already on the market and models such as our new Captiva sport utility vehicle and Cruze hatchback, which we will soon be rolling out,” Ankush said.

Ssangyong Motor Co., the country’s smallest automaker, also saw a large sales increase, buoyed by its recently launched SUV, the Korando C.

The company sold 10,390 vehicles last month, up 82 percent from 5,724 vehicles sold a year earlier.

Domestic sales soared 83 percent on-year to 4,677 units with exports also jumping 80 percent to 5,713 units, putting the company’s monthly sales at over 10,000 units for the first time since December 2007, according to Ssangyong. 

(Yonhap News)
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