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Korea’s used cars remain popular in overseas markets

Korea’s used cars remain popular in overseas markets

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Published : 2013-12-19 19:42
Updated : 2013-12-19 19:42

South Korea’s used city cars, sport utility vehicles and vans remain popular in overseas markets despite stiff competition from Japanese rivals, industry data showed Thursday.

SK Encar, a top-ranked used car export company, said it has shipped 3,285 vehicles in the first 11 months of this year and expects the cumulative annual number to be on par with the 3,600 units sold in 2012.

“The figures aren’t bad, since the weak Japanese yen and internal troubles in some markets have affected demand across the board,” a company official said. A weak yen makes Japanese used cars less expensive and undercuts the price competitiveness of South Korean cars.

He said locally made cars are still sought after because they remain affordable, are of good quality and offer fuel efficiency and refined design features.

Southeast Asian countries have continued to be the main market for South Korean used cars, but there is also solid demand from South American, Middle Eastern and Russian consumers, data indicated.

Of the top 10 car models exported, city cars ― or super-minis ― led the pack, followed by SUVs.

Kia Motors Corp.’s All New Morning and the older New Morning, sold in some foreign markets as the Picanto, accounted for 18.4 percent of all sales.

South Korea’s second-largest automaker said it has sold 363 units of the newer Mornings and 240 of the older models in the January-November period, making them the two best-selling models. These compact cars are in high demand for their maneuverability in congested urban areas, as well for their affordable price and fuel efficiency.

The Hyundai Motor Co.’s Grand Starex van came in third, with exports hitting 214 units, followed by offroaders such as the Terracan, Sorento, Santa Fe CM and New Sorento.

SK Encar said SUVs made up 22.8 percent of the total shipments this year.

Hyundai’s mid-size NF Sonata model made the top 10 list with 186 units sold, and its small-sized trucks, the Porter 2 and Bongo III, also sold 133 and 93 units, respectively, the exporter said.

The company, meanwhile, said that Russia and South American countries like Chile have become important markets, particularly for SUVs and recreational vehicles.

Demand for SUVs in these countries is usually driven up by rugged terrain and unfavorable road conditions.

Cars like the Starex are increasingly used as part of the public transportation system in some overseas markets, the company said. (Yonhap News)

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