Auto parts event draws a whole lot of interest

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Auto parts event draws a whole lot of interest

Global automotive companies are rushing to visit Korea to make business deals with local auto parts manufacturers who have attracted attention for the quality of their products.

According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra), about 250 buyers representing 219 companies in 32 countries visited Global TransporTech 2013 yesterday. The two-day trade show is held at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi. The number of companies interested in buying increased about 13 percent from last year, the agency said.

Although the event covers the entire transportation machinery industry, 80 percent of companies participating in the trade show are related to automobiles, Kotra added. General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen and 20 other automakers attended as buyers, and there were 109 auto parts vendors like Getrag, Continental and Denso. More than 80 auto part distributors and retail chains were also there.

Despite sluggish economies and the weak yen, Kotra said 35 European companies and 22 Japanese companies attended. The agency explained that automakers from these countries have not altered their global outsourcing strategies and showed up in numbers similar to last year.

Kotra said companies from India, where Korean-made auto parts have the biggest share of the import market, are also participating and expects local firms to expand their exports.

“Korean auto part manufacturers in Global TransporTech target the OEM market, not the after-sales market,” said Kim Byung-kwon who heads Kotra’s Strategic Business unit. “Especially this year, automakers and global vendors that announced plans to increase their use of Korean-made products came, so we expect better results than in the past.”

Experts say local auto parts manufacturers have been rising globally because of competitive prices and quality products.

According to data from the Korea International Trade Association, the value of auto parts exports has increased steadily since 2009. For the first five months of the year, auto parts exports were $10.9 billion, up 7.7 percent from a year ago.

Foreign automakers also have been trying to use their Korean units to secure good parts suppliers here. Honda Korea last month opened an office that deals only with procurement of Korean-made parts, while other companies like Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are expanding their purchases through Korean branches.

BMW, the nation’s No. 1 imported car brand, has been inviting local part manufacturers to its German headquarters on trips arranged by its Korean unit.

BY JOO KYUNG-Don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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