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Carmakers post sagging sales at home

Four out of the five major automakers suffered a year-on-year drop in sales in the local market in the first quarter of 2012 amid sluggish private consumption.

Hyundai Motor saw its sales at home post 154,855 units in the first quarter, down 7.1 percent from 166,749 units over the same period in 2011.

For March sales, the nation’s largest automaker reported a 9.5 percent drop with 56,022 units at home, compared with 61,932 units a year earlier.

By contrast, its exports, including production at overseas factories, grew 21.6 percent from 749,933 units in the first quarter of 2011 to 911,805 units in the same quarter of 2012.

Hyundai posted combined sales growth of 16.4 percent at home and abroad for the first quarter.

Kia Motors’ domestic sales fell 7.4 percent from 125,631 units to 116,272 units on a year-on-year basis.

Thanks to growth in exports f 16.6 percent, Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, could post a combined growth rate of 11.7 percent in sales at home and abroad over the corresponding period.

Renault Samsung Motors saw both its domestic sales and exports fall 40.8 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

Its combined sales were 44,358 units during the first three months of 2012, down 30.4 percent from 63,692 units over the same period of 2011.

Ssangyong Motor also suffered lackluster sales in the local market despite export growth.

Its sales at home dropped 2.7 percent while exports grew 13.4 percent.

As an exception, GM Korea recorded growth both in domestic sales and exports over the same period ― 6.5 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively.

Its sales growth was mainly attributable to the brand name change from GM Daewoo Auto & Technology to GM Korea and introduction of the Chevrolet brand, according to market observers.

By Kim Yon-se (