Local automakers up at home, down abroad

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Local automakers up at home, down abroad

Most local automakers reported improved domestic sales in July compared to last year, but many continued to struggle in the global market.

Hyundai Motor said Monday it sold 357,795 cars in July - 59,957 in Korea and 297,838 globally. Overall sales dropped 6 percent year-on-year, while the domestic sales rose 0.5 percent and export sales declined 7.3 percent.

Domestic sales were led by its best-selling SUV Santa Fe, with 9,942 sold in the month, followed by the Sonata (8,380), Grandeur (7,044) and Avante (6,891) sedans. It was the first time the Santa Fe was the company’s monthly top seller since June 2012. It began selling the upgraded edition of the SUV, the Santa Fe Prime, in June.

The company said export sales were hit hard by the Chinese market, where the competition is getting tougher as the Chinese economy slumps

“The situation is tough outside the country,” said Hyundai in a statement.

“The overall economy isn’t good, due to poor conditions in newly industrialized nations [like Brazil, China and Russia] and unstable foreign exchange rates. We will try to keep our market competitiveness by taking actions that respond to such changes.”

Kia Motors reported its highest-ever monthly domestic sales in July. The automaker said it sold a total of 48,202 cars, a 12.9 percent rise year-on-year. But the company couldn’t celebrate, as its overall monthly sales declined 10.7 percent year-on-year. It sold 186,325 vehicles internationally, a 15.4 percent drop from a year earlier.

Domestic sales were led by the company’s newest models. Kia reportedly sold 6,447 K5 sedans, including the new second-generation and its predecessor. This was the most since July 2013, when Kia sold 7,479 of the first-generation models. The company reported that its numbers would be even higher - it received more than 11,000 orders for the K5 by the end of July, despite only rolling out the model on July 27 - but it only counted the number of cars shipped to customers in its July sales.

Kia’s best-selling model was the Morning minicar, with 7,349 sold, followed by the Carnival minivan (7,158), Sorento SUV (6,331) and K3 sedan (4,605).

The nation’s third-largest automaker, GM Korea, had the opposite problem as Kia. The company’s monthly domestic sales declined from a year ago, but overall sales increased 20.6 percent thanks to a boost in global sales.

The company said it sold a total of 59,490 cars - 12,402 in Korea and 47,088 internationally. Domestic sales dropped 6.8 percent and global sales increased 30.7 percent.

The company said the domestic record was impacted by slumping sales of minicars in Korea, which dropped 41.1 percent year-on-year. GM Korea said it expects minicar sales to improve since it rolled out the new Spark last month.

Ssangyong Motor, the nation’s smallest automaker, sold 11,814 units - 8,210 in Korea and 3,604 globally in July. Domestic sales rose 36.6 percent year-on-year thanks to the SUV Tivoli, but exports dropped 37.9 percent. The company said it expects an improvement in the second half when it introduces its Tivoli abroad.

BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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