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Auto exports fall 10 % in Oct.

South Korea's vehicle exports fell 10 percent last month from a year earlier due to lower demand in emerging markets, data showed Thursday.

South Korean carmakers shipped a total of 208,714 vehicles in October, down from 230,086 units a year ago amid a slowing global economy, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement. 


"Lower demand in Asia and Latin America fully offset increased sales of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. in North America and rising demand in Saudi Arabia last month," a ministry official said.

The country's vehicle production and domestic sales also declined in October.

Vehicle production fell 7.9 percent to 351,409 autos last month from 381,595 units the previous year. Domestic sales were down 2.1 percent to 157,461 from 160,881 during the same period, the statement said.

In the domestic market, customers chose not to buy Kia's existing K5 sedan as its all-new version is set to be released in December, though demand for Hyundai's Palisade sport utility vehicle remained strong last month, it said.

On the imported passenger car front, Mercedes-Benz benefited most from a drop in sales of Japanese vehicles amid a boycott stemming from the neighboring nation's restrictions on exports of key industrial materials to South Korea.

Mercedes-Benz posted a 26 percent jump in October sales here to 8,025 units from 6,371 a year ago, according to data from the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association.

German carmakers, including Audi-Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, sold a combined 14,997 units in October, jumping 48 percent from 10,159 a year ago, KAIDA said.

In contrast, Japanese carmakers -- Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. -- suffered a 58 percent on-year plunge to 1,977 from 4,756 during the same period as Korean customers increasingly chose alternative brands over Japanese ones.

The number of newly registered foreign vehicles rose 6.2 percent to 22,101 units in October, up from 20,813 a year earlier, KAIDA said. (Yonhap)