Korean automakers’ July sales fall 3 percent

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Korean automakers’ July sales fall 3 percent

The combined sales of Korea’s five carmakers fell 3 percent last month from a year earlier as overseas demand remained weak, the companies said Wednesday.

The five automakers - Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and SsangYong Motor - sold a total of 639,099 vehicles in July, down from 658,939 units a year earlier, according to their monthly sales data.

Their domestic sales rose 2.4 percent to 133,792 vehicles last month from 130,611 units a year ago. But overseas sales declined 4.4 percent to 505,307 autos from 528,328 during the same period, the data showed.

Hyundai’s sales were affected by production losses resulting from partial strikes at local plants that were resolved in a wage deal reached last month, and sluggish sales in major markets, such as China, the top carmaker here said in a statement.

Hyundai and its 34 percent-owned affiliate Kia have yet to make a full rebound in China after suffering sharp sales declines last year due to the diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in Korea, a corporate source said.

In July, Hyundai’s sales fell 6.5 percent to 339,694 vehicles from 363,127 units a year earlier. Kia’s rose 5.1 percent to 230,878 from 219,699 during the same period on recovering demand in emerging markets.

With an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China emerging as the biggest worry for carmakers, Hyundai plans to launch the all-new Santa Fe and the facelifted Tucson sport-utility vehicle in the United States in the second half to bolster sales. Kia plans to roll out its new K3 compact in the U.S. later this year, the company said.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker, aim to achieve a combined sales target of 7.55 million vehicles for 2018, slightly higher than the 7.25 million units they sold last year.

GM Korea, the Korean unit of General Motors, posted an 11 percent on-year drop in sales for July with numbers falling to 37,046 from 41,406. Its domestic sales fell 17 percent to 9,000 from 10,801 during the cited period, with exports down 8.4 percent to 28,046 from 30,605.

The latest data showed that in the January-July period, overall sales of the five carmakers inched up 1.9 percent to 4.7 million vehicles from 4.6 million a year ago.

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