Carmakers report sales still stalled

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Carmakers report sales still stalled

Korean carmakers saw overall sales increase slightly year-on-year in March, while still failing to get out of their domestic slump.

According to the nation’s five carmakers - Hyundai, Kia, GM Korea, Renault Samsung and Ssangyong - 725,661 vehicles were sold last month, up 0.1 percent from a year earlier. Overseas sales jumped 0.5 percent year-on-year to 607,444 units, thanks to increased production from plants outside Korea.

However, domestic sales were 118,217 vehicles last month, down 1.6 percent from a year ago.

Hyundai Motor, the nation’s largest automaker, saw a slight increase in domestic sales with 56,056 units, up 0.1 percent from the previous year.

Its popular compact sedan Avante, known as Elantra overseas, was the second-best selling car in Korea with 8,346 units were purchased last month.

Hyundai’s smaller affiliate, Kia, however, reported declines in both domestic and overseas sales. The No.2 automaker sold 39,500 units last month, a year-on-year drop of 6.1 percent. Overseas sales fell 0.9 percent to 196,581 units. A ray of sunshine was Kia’s city car Morning, the top domestic seller in March at 8,823 units.

GM Korea sold 12,968 units in Korea last month, down 4.2 percent from a year earlier, but a 30 percent improvement from February thanks to its Chevrolet Trax, the small SUV released in late February.

Renault Samsung’s domestic sales dipped 0.4 percent year-on-year to 4,769 last month, while exports slipped 4.9 percent to 7,740 vehicles.

Ssangyong was the biggest winner in March with domestic sales increasing 30.1 percent year-on-year to 4,924 units and exports jumping 5 percent to 5,837 units. The nation’s smallest automaker said its Korando C was the sales leader.

“We are getting good reviews from customers with our Korando family brand,” said CEO Lee Yoo-il.

By Joo Kyung-don []
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