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Auto exports to Algeria surge

South Korea’s auto exports to Algeria soared in October as Hyundai Motor assembly plants have begun operations there, a trade agency said Wednesday.

Exports of passenger cars to the North African country jumped 51.5 percent in the first 10 months of this year to $92.56 million due to high growth in October, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

Shipments of commercial vehicles also rose 11.1 percent to $5.75 million during the same period. 

Hyundai Motor's assembly plant in Algeria (KOTRA)
Hyundai Motor's assembly plant in Algeria (KOTRA)

The increase came as Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s largest automaker, began operation of an auto assembly plant in Algeria in July. The plant assembles semi knocked-down kits of Mighty and Trago, with an annual production capacity of 15,000 units. Hyundai also started the operation of another plant in November to assemble passenger car models including the Elantra, Santafe, i10 and Accent.

Hyundai and other global carmakers have set up or plan to build plants in the country to circumvent its strict import quotas for complete cars.

In May, the North African government announced the import quota for Hyundai was 3,140, which is a mere 10 percent of Hyundai’s total sales last year. Kia Motors was awarded 6,800 units or the equivalent of 45 percent of Kia’s sales in 2015.

For the entire year, 83,000 units were allocated to foreign automotive dealers, down from 560,000 units in 2012. The imported auto brands sold about 270,000 units in 2015.

In an attempt to boost investment there, the government requires all foreign car dealers to establish assembly plants in Algeria.

With the operation of plants and the expected increase in import car quota, exports to Algeria are likely to recover next year, according to KOTRA’s forecast.

By Park Ga-young (