Domestic car market loses momentum

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Domestic car market loses momentum

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, the nation’s two largest automakers, are struggling to compete for domestic sales with the three smaller local automakers.

According to all five automakers, combined domestic sales for November were 119,195 units, a 7.9 percent decline from a year earlier, while combined overseas sales went down 2.5 percent year-on-year to 642,601 units.

Sluggish domestic sales were mainly caused by Hyundai and Kia, which hold the lion’s share of the market. Hyundai’s domestic sales for last month plunged 11.9 percent year-on-year to 54,302 units, while its smaller affiliate Kia saw a 12.3 percent year-on-year decline to 38,952 units.

“Last year, many customers bought cars prior to end of a temporary consumption tax relief period, but last month we didn’t have any special factor like that,” a spokesman from Hyundai said.

GM Korea, the nation’s third-largest automaker, said its November domestic sales increased 2.4 percent year-on-year to 14,100 units, marking its best sales figure this year with the release of 2014 models.

The Korean unit of U.S. automaker General Motors said its midsize sedan Chevrolet Malibu sold 1,216 units last month, which was its best monthly sales this year. Ssangyong Motor, now controlled by India’s Mahindra Group, also saw its best monthly domestic sales since 2006 after selling 6,540 units, which was a 48.6 percent year-on-year increase, while Renault Samsung Motors said its domestic sales in November were 5,301 units, up 2.3 percent from year earlier, thanks to rising sales of SM7s and QM5s.


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

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