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Car exports up, domestic sales down

Korea’s major automakers posted contrasting sales performances at home and abroad last month.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors saw their exports increase in October from a year earlier. But their sales at home dropped on a yearly basis.

Hyundai Motor sold 305,923 units, including exports and overseas production, abroad last month, up 18.3 percent from 258,644 units a year ago.

The nation’s largest automaker saw exports of 114,454 units and sales of 191,469 units from overseas factories, increases of 18.7 and 18 percent, respectively.

Five major overseas plants in the U.S., China, India, Russia and the Czech Republic posted steady growth in sales, the company said in a statement.

However, their sales at home recorded a 6 percent year-on-year drop from 62,615 to 58,886 units.

Further, sales of sport utility vehicles such as Tucson ix and Santa Fe fell by 21.5 percent ― from 7,028 to 5,514 units.

Kia Motors reported 15.2 percent year-on-year growth in its overseas sales including exports by selling 171,046 units last month.

But its domestic sales stood at 41,302 units, down 4.3 percent from 43,147 units a year before.

GM Korea’s exports increased by 2.5 percent to post 58,591 units while its sales in Korea dropped by 4.6 percent from 11,589 to 11,056 units.

Renault Samsung Motors saw its exports grow 3 percent from 12,572 to 12,908 units while domestic sales plunged 38 percent from 12,404 to 7,743 units.

Ssangyong Motor also recorded a mixed performance as the carmaker posted a 58.4 percent increase in exports and 31.9 percent drop at home.

Experts attributed the overall drop in domestic sales to economic slowdown and weakened purchasing power of Korean consumers.

The Korea Automotive Research Institute has forecast that car sales at home next year will stay at 1.58 million units, down 1.1 percent from the estimate of 1.6 million for this year.

The research center said cited snowballing household debt among Koreans and economic slowdown in its prediction.

“Auto sales have continued to increase over the past few years,” it said. “But the sales will fall in 2012 for the first time since 2009.”

By Kim Yon-se

(kys@heraldcorp.com)
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