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S. Korea’s car production drops in Q3 on global chip shortage

An assembly line at GM Korea's factory Bupyeong, Incheon. (GM Korea)
An assembly line at GM Korea's factory Bupyeong, Incheon. (GM Korea)

South Korea’s car production in the third quarter this year dropped, marking the lowest level since the 2008 global financial crisis, according to a local industry report, Sunday.

According to Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association’s report, the combined number of automobiles domestically manufactured during the July-September period reached 761,975, down 20.9 percent on-year.

The figure was the lowest since 2008, when local carmakers’ production reached 760,121 during the three-month period, the report added.

KAMA explained the ongoing global semiconductor shortage has mainly affected domestic car production in the third quarter.

The resurging COVID outbreak in Southeast Asia, in particular, had a major impact on the production of semiconductor products for automobiles, the report added.

Previously, local car manufacturers anticipated chip supply to recover between September and October. But, major automotive chip manufacturers struggled to operate their factories in Southeast Asia due to the pandemic, prolonging the chip shortage.

German chipmaker Infineon and Switzerland-based STMicroelectronics, for instance, suffered from shutdowns at their plant in Malaysia.

By companies, Hyundai Motor produced a total of 350,209 vehicles in the third quarter, down 15.8 percent on-year from 415,992 last year.

Kia Motors produced 321,734 during the three-month period this year, decreased 6.5 percent on-year from 344,212 during the same period in 2020.

GM Korea’s car production in the third quarter this year has been cut by more than half from a year earlier, decreasing from 102,747 to 45,939.

SsangYong Motor’s production also decreased 21.7 percent on-year to reach 20,499 during the same period, compared to 26,164 last year.

Renault Samsung Motors, however, remained unaffected by the global chip shortage. The company’s car production in the third quarter increased 7 percent on-year to reach 33,760 units.

By Shim Woo-hyun (
Korea Herald Youtube