Car sales globally crushed by the coronavirus pandemic
The largest automaker by sales in Korea sold a total of 159,079 units in April, down 56.9 percent from 368,953 units posted in the same month last year. Hyundai Motor's domestic sales inched down 0.5 percent to 71,042 units, but its overseas sales nosedived 70.4 percent to 88,037 units.
The company explained that its global sales fell as the coronavirus pandemic reduced demand for new cars and as its overseas factories suspended operations because of the outbreak.
At Kia Motors, sales were down 41.1 percent last month, from 227,943 units to 134,216 units.
The company's domestic sales rose about 20 percent to 50,361 units, but its overseas sales fell 54.9 percent to 83,855 units. The win on the home front was helped by the launch of the fourth-generation Sorento mid-size SUV last month.
The company cited the Covid-19 outbreak as a reason for the sales slump. It said that most of its overseas factories were suspended as factories were shut and demand low.
Sales at the three remaining domestic automakers dropped as well.
SsangYong Motor, which sold the fewest number of cars last month, said it sold a total of 6,813 units, down 46.4 percent from a year earlier. The Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-based automaker experienced a supply crunch of auto parts from foreign countries and had to lower the operating rate at its assembly plant.
GM Korea sold 28,749 units, down 26.7 percent from 39,242 units a year earlier. Sales at the Korean unit of General Motors rose 4.2 percent on year to 6,706 units on the success of the Chevrolet Spark and Trailblazer, but its export volume shrank 32.8 percent to 22,043 units.
Renault Samsung Motors was the only automaker that did well. As a result of the introduction of its XM3 small-size SUV in March, sales at the Busan-based unit of France's Renault Group fell 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 13,087 units.
The company’s domestic sales skyrocketed 78.4 percent on year to 11,015 units, but that success was somewhat balanced by 32.9 percent drop in export volume to 2,072 units.
All automakers vowed Wednesday to focus on the domestic market as the coronavirus pandemic was well handled in Korea compared to other markets.
BY KO JUN-TAE [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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