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Car sales down again in Nov.

Korea’s major automakers once again recorded contrasting sales performances at home and abroad in November.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors saw their exports increase in November from a year earlier, but their sales at home dropped.

Hyundai Motor sold 320,790 units, including exports and overseas production, abroad last month, up 26.1 percent from a year ago.

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 9.3 percent year-on-year drop from 60,348 in November 2010 to 54,732 units in November 2011.

Further, sales of sport utility vehicles such as the Tucson ix and Santa Fe fell by 18.9 percent ― from 8,101 to 6,570 units.

Kia Motors reported 13.4 percent year-on-year growth in its overseas sales including exports by selling 202,259 units last month.

But its domestic sales stood at 39,031 units, down 11.4 percent from 44,049 units a year before.

GM Korea’s exports increased by 13.8 percent to 59,480 units while its sales in Korea dropped by 14 percent to 10,798 units.

Ssangyong Motor also recorded a mixed performance as the carmaker posted a 27.7 percent increase in exports and 3.4 percent drop at home.

Meanwhile, Renault Samsung Motors saw both exports and domestic sales plunge at 24.2 percent and 35.1 percent, respectively.

Experts attributed the overall drop in domestic sales to the 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 cited snowballing household debt among Koreans and the economic slowdown in its prediction.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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