Declining monthly sales for Korean carmakers

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Declining monthly sales for Korean carmakers

The combined sales of Korea’s five carmakers fell 8.5 percent in September from a year earlier as fewer working days led to reduced output and sales, corporate data showed Monday.

The five automakers - Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and SsangYong Motor - sold a total of 678,738 vehicles last month, down from 741,486 units a year earlier, the companies said.

The monthly sales declined as the carmakers shut down their plants for about a week to celebrate the Chuseok holidays during the last week of September.

Their domestic sales plunged 18 percent to 110,130 vehicles last month from 133,551 units a year ago. Overseas sales declined 6.5 percent to 568,608 autos from 607,935 during the same period, the data showed.

Most of the carmakers suffered sales declines last month, as fewer work days resulted in reduced production at their plants.

Hyundai Motor sold 384,833 vehicles last month, down 6.6 percent from 412,150 units a year earlier.

Sales of its 34 percent-owned affiliate Kia Motors declined 6.4 percent to 233,708 from 249,722 during the cited period.

The country’s two biggest automakers have yet to make a complete rebound in China, the world’s biggest automobile market, although things have improved this year.

Their sales fell sharply in 2017 due to a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system called Thaad.

In the second half, Hyundai expects the all-new Santa Fe sport utility vehicle and the face-lifted Tucson SUV to bolster sales in major markets, such as the United States and China.

Kia also expects the new K3 compact improve its standing in the United States in the coming months.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, aim to sell a total of 7.55 million vehicles globally in 2018, slightly higher than the 7.25 million units they sold last year.

Besides the two, three other Korean carmakers struggled with weaker demand due to a lack of new models or lackluster demand for new vehicles.

In the January-September period, overall sales of the five carmakers inched up 0.75 percent to 6.05 million vehicles from 6.01 million a year ago.

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