Car production, sales and exports all drop in July
A shortage of automotive semiconductors was a key factor.
One area of growth remained environment-friendly vehicles, proving their popularity.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Wednesday, Korea manufactured 297,585 vehicles in July, a 13.9 percent drop compared to the previous year.
The ministry said factories were hobbled by a shortage of semiconductors.
Hyundai Motor, which accounts for roughly 50 percent of the vehicle manufactured in Korea, saw a 16 percent decline in its production last month.
GM Korea, which accounts for 10 percent, saw a 45.3 percent decline.
Domestic sales declined 9.6 percent year-on-year to 147,697 vehicles. Exports fell 2.9 percent to 181,046 vehicles.
However, the decreases were also affected by the base effect and a significant increase in demand in July 2020.
Due to the spread of Covid-19 in the first half of 2020, automobile demand fell sharply. It recovered in July.
While overall vehicle sales last month were disappointing, environmentally-friendly vehicles such as hybrids and electric vehicles (EV) enjoyed healthy growth.
Last month, 29,821 environment-friendly vehicles were sold, a 65.7 percent surge compared to the same month a year earlier.
Exports of such vehicle totaled 34,571 vehicles, a 27.4 percent increase.
Exports of such vehicles have continued for seven consecutive months. Domestic sales have been increasing for 18 consecutive months.
For the last two consecutive months, environmentally-friendly vehicle sales accounted for 20 percent of all domestic vehicle sales.
Monthly domestic sales of environmentally friendly vehicles manufactured by Korean automakers exceeded 20,000 units for the first time in July.
Hybrids manufactured by Korean automakers increased 22.8 percent to 13,358 vehicles while EVS surged 191 percent to 6,806 vehicles.
Hydrogen vehicles, however, declined 30 percent to 490 vehicles.
A ministry official said environment-friendly vehicles sales have increased because automakers are introducing the environmentally-friendly versions of popular models such as Avante, Tucson and Sorento, and rolling out new EVs such as the Ioniq 5.
Domestic sales of imported EVs dropped 27.5 percent year-on-year. But overall sales of imported environmentally-friendly vehicles amounted to 9,167 vehicles, a 124.7 percent increase.
This was largely due to a165.4 percent increase in sales of imported hybrid vehicles as well as an 118.1 percent increase in sales of plug-in hybrids.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]