Automakers’ outlook grim for 2012The growth of Korea’s automobile production and exports will slow sharply in 2012 from this year due to a global economic downturn, a government report said yesterday.
The combined output of the country’s five automakers, including vehicles produced at overseas plants, is expected to reach 7.61 million units this year, growing 10.7 percent from 6.87 million in 2010, according to the report by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
Their combined production in 2012, however, is estimated to rise only 5.8 percent to 8.05 million units, the ministry said, citing a report from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association. The automakers’ total output will surpass the eight-million mark for the first time next year.
“The global economy has shown brief signs of recovery since the 2008 financial crisis, but conditions for 2012 are continuing to worsen due to growing uncertainties stemming from the European crisis and signs of economic downturns in developed markets,” the ministry said.
It said the country’s total automobile exports will likely grow by 3.9 percent on-year to 3.2 million units next year, compared with an estimated 11.1 percent growth this year. Vehicles produced overseas are not counted as exports.
Domestic sales of vehicles produced by Korean manufacturers will likely grow 1.4 percent to 1.5 million units in 2012, similar to this year’s estimated gain of 1 percent, according to the ministry. Sales of imported vehicles, on the other hand, are expected to surge 21.7 percent to a record high of 140,000 units in 2012, gaining further ground from this year’s estimated growth of 15.9 percent to 115,000 units.
Import cars have been gaining popularity among Korean consumers as carmakers market their models aggressively by offering promotions and discount events. European automakers including BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and Volkswagen have been among the popular brands among Korean consumers. Meanwhile, the ministry said the country’s automobile production in November rose 10.1 percent from a year earlier to 428,516 vehicles.
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