South Korea shipped a total of $7 billion worth of electric cars last year, taking the fourth spot in terms of exports by value, following Germany ($28.8 billion), the United States ($10.1 billion) and China ($10 billion), data from a report showed Thursday.
Of the world’s top 10 EV exporters, six countries were from Europe. Japan ranked eighth with $4.6 billion EV exports.
According to data by Korea International Trade Association, the country's EV exports jumped 112.2 percent in the last year compared to 2019. Of total automotive exports, EVs took 15.8 percent last year, making a twofold jump from 8.1 percent in 2019. Hyundai and its sister company Kia are two Korean carmakers exporting EVs in Korea.
By country, the Korean carmakers took the second spot in terms of EV market share in the US, only after Tesla in the first half. In Germany and United Kingdom, they ranked fourth and third, respectively.
In terms of EV imports, Germany ranked at the top with $17.7 billion, followed by the US ($9.1 billion), United Kingdom ($8.9 billion) and France ($7.3 billion). Seven European countries were ranked as top 10 EV importers. South Korea ranked 14th with EV imports worth ($2.1 billion). China ranked 10th.
In 2021, Hyundai Motor Group took the fifth slot in terms of EV sales around the world, by selling a total of 340,000 cars. Tesla sold the largest 1.05 million EVs, followed by Germany’s Volkswagen (710,000), China’s BYD (600,000) and US’ General Motors (520,000).
Experts said that despite South Korean carmakers’ strength, the small-sized domestic market compared to big 3 automotive markets like US, Germany and China makes it difficult to dramatically pull up market competitiveness.
“Following the latest US bill on EV tax credits that excludes foreign EV makers, as well as more countries launching restrictive EV subsidy plans to nurture domestic makers, South Korean makers and government authorities should join efforts to maintain the market competitiveness,” said Kim Kkot-byul, a senior researcher at KITA in the Thursday report.