Korean car production reaches seven-year low

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Korean car production reaches seven-year low

Korea’s vehicle production hit a seven-year low in the first two months of the year due to flagging demand in emerging markets, new data showed Friday, sparking concerns about the industry’s performance for 2017.

The country’s vehicle output reached 634,073 units in the January-February period, down 3 percent from the previous year and the lowest level since 2010, according to data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The drop resulted mainly from industry leader Hyundai Motor’s production cut. Hyundai’s vehicle production tumbled 14.6 percent year on year to 225,725 units during the two-month period. Kia Motors, second in the industry, saw its production rise to 249,815 units from 239,010 over the same period, and three smaller automakers - GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and SsangYong Motor - all reported increased output.

Given the fall in auto output, industry watchers say it will be difficult for Korea to regain its status as the fifth-largest car producer this year.

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