Report forecasts bleak 2018 for auto industry

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Report forecasts bleak 2018 for auto industry

Korea’s auto industry will likely retreat 0.9 percent next year due to lower overseas demand, an industry group projected Thursday.

In 2018, carmakers are expected to sell 4.39 million vehicles, with 2.57 million abroad and 1.82 million domestically, the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association said in a report.

The figure is down from an estimated 4.43 million cars to be sold this year. Of the total, sales at home are expected to reach 1.82 million, while sales abroad could total 2.61 million.

Domestic sales are forecast to remain unchanged next year due to weak consumer sentiment amid increased household debt and rising oil prices.

“To help boost vehicle sales, the government needs to cut individual consumption taxes for new car purchases and seek policies to stabilize foreign exchange rates,” Kim Yong-geun, chairman of the association, said in the report.

He urged automakers and their unions to improve their relationships for win-win survival in the face of tougher competition from rivals abroad and an economic slowdown.

On Wednesday, Hyundai Motor’s labor union tentatively agreed to a wage deal after their industrial actions cost the company 62,600 vehicles valued at 1.31 trillion won ($1.2 billion) in production losses this year.

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