Auto sales gain 6.5 percent in April

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Auto sales gain 6.5 percent in April

Sales of Korea’s five automakers, led by market leader Hyundai Motor, increased 6.5 percent on-year in April, fueled mainly by a steady rise in overseas demand, industry data showed yesterday.

The combined sales of the carmakers came to 689,679 vehicles last month, compared with 647,767 units sold a year earlier, according to figures released by the companies.

Domestic shipments dropped around 7 percent on-year to a combined 117,741 last month. Overseas sales, including exports and vehicles assembled at foreign plants, climbed 9.6 percent to 571,938 units.

The automakers also include Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and Ssangyong Motor.

“Sales of the country’s top two carmakers - Hyundai and Kia - moved up last month compared to a year earlier, but smaller-sized carmakers reported downturns mainly due to sluggish domestic demand and faltering demand in foreign markets,” an industry insider said.

He said last month’s overall growth was made possible by a solid gain in foreign markets that helped offset weak domestic sales.

The source said only GM Korea and Ssangyong sold more cars in the country last month than the year before, although sales of Renault Samsung moved up 7.0 percent on-month.

By carmaker, Hyundai and Kia, flagship companies of Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s fifth-largest automotive group, reported global sales gains of 7.9 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively, with GM Korea, the local unit of U.S. auto giant General Motors Co., saying sales slumped 13.8 percent.

Sales for Renault Samsung and Ssangyong were down 13.6 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

“Generally, sluggish domestic demand has affected sales, but the release of the all-new Santa Fe and K9 luxury sedan is expected to fuel sales,” said a spokesperson for the group.

Both companies said overseas conditions were getting tougher as rivals moved to launch new cars.

GM Korea said that while its sales contracted last month, the numbers reflected the company’s ability to compete in the market.

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