Fewer vehicles produced as demand falls in key markets

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Fewer vehicles produced as demand falls in key markets

Korea’s vehicle production fell 0.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier due to slowing demand in the United States and China, an auto industry association said Tuesday.

From January to March, South Korea produced a total of 957,402 vehicles, down from 962,803 units in the year-ago period. It ranked seventh in terms of production volume following China, the United States, Japan, Germany, India and Mexico, the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) said.

“The quarterly output decline was due to lack of flexibility in relocation of workers and products between assembly lines at local plants and adjustment of inventories,” the statement said.

As the Chinese automobile market now exceeds 330 million vehicles, Chinese carmakers are looking to Southeast Asian markets away from their saturated home market. They are a growing threat to Korean carmakers, particularly when it comes to price competitiveness, KAMA President and CEO Jeong Marn-ki said in the statement.

In the first quarter, the world’s top 10 car manufacturing countries - a list that also includes Brazil, Spain and France - churned out a combined 18.49 million vehicles, down 4.6 percent from 19.39 million vehicles a year earlier.

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