Car sales increased 18% in May
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy Thursday said a total of 166,271 units were sold last month, up 18.3 percent from a year earlier. Locally produced vehicles accounted for 87.1 percent, the most since Dec. 2014.
“A number of vehicles including Kia Motors’ Niro, General Motor’s Malibu and Renault Samsung’s SM6 were launched and it helped domestic sales grow in May,” Lee Won-joo, a director at the ministry, said in a press release on Thursday.
Hyundai Motor sold the most, or 36.6 percent, last month. Its Sonata was the most popular model and sales of Avantes and Santa Fes rose significantly from last year. Hyundai sold 10.6 percent more vehicles compared to a year ago, or 60,827 units, in May.
Renault Samsung sold 68.2 percent more cars, largely because of the SM6 and SM7, while the figure for General Motor Korea’s and Ssangyong rose by 40.8 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively.
A total of 21,433 foreign vehicles were sold in Korea last month, up 4.1 percent from the previous year. German brands accounted for 59.7 percent of the total.
Exports, on the other hand, dropped by 11.6 percent in unit terms during the same period as emerging markets’ economies slowed. Year-on-year growth continued to contract for the seventh month in a row.
“Emerging markets including countries in the Middle East and Central and South America faced economic downturns,” said Lee. “On the other hand, exports to the United States, Australia and the European Union countries rose last month.”
Hyundai sold 5.7 percent fewer cars in foreign markets in May compared to the previous year and Kia’s exports fell 17.1 percent during the same period.
“Hyundai sold more Avante and Tucson models overseas, but the figure for large sedans including the Grandeur and Genesis lineups dropped by 35.7 percent from the previous year,” said Lee.
Exports in dollar terms reached $3.45 billion, down 7.1 percent from a year ago.
There were fewer vehicles manufactured in May as demand from overseas dropped.
Automakers manufactured a total of 361,492 units last month, down 1.1 percent from the previous year.
BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [firstname.lastname@example.org]