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Korean car exports fall 10.4% in July

Korea’s car exports fell 10.4 percent in July from a year ago due to contracted demand in Europe stemming from the region’s debt crisis, a government report showed Wednesday.

Overseas vehicle shipments reached 238,824 units last month, compared with 266,627 vehicles exported a year ago, according to the report by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The ministry said that sluggish exports to the debt-ridden European region led the decline, with shipments to Europe falling for six months in a row.

Shipments of cars by Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., the flagship companies of Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s fifth-largest carmaker, shrank 13.5 percent and 5.5 percent on-year, respectively, due to a production loss incurred by a partial strike last month.

Foreign sales of GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Co. and Ssangyong Motor Co. all also posted negative growth, added the ministry.

For the first seven months of the year, 1.94 million units of cars were shipped overseas, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, said the ministry.

“Car exports maintained positive growth in the seven-month period thanks to South Korea’s free trade deals with the United States and Europe, improved competitiveness and brand images in overseas markets. But the growth slowed due to uncertainties in the global economy,” said the ministry in the report.

The latest report showed July car production shrank 9.2 percent on-year to 355,627 units, with domestic sales contracting 2.9 percent to 132,854 units.

The ministry said lingering economic uncertainties and rising household debts affected local sales.

In the January-July period, total production rose 1.5 percent to 2.7 million, although domestic sales dropped 5.8 percent on-year to 817,202 units, according to the report. (Yonhap News)
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