The Korean automakers' trade association, KAMA, reports that South Korean automakers all posted sales growth in January as the government's efforts to spur domestic demand encouraged consumers to buy cars.

Hyundai's share price rose sharply on the news.

Market leader Hyundai Motor, reported sales 39% ahead of a year earlier, with domestic market sales up 55% and exports up 28%.

Hyundai Motor plans to run its factories at a higher capacity to meet an order backlog of about 150,000 cars.

The outlook for sales in Korea has improved this year. Analysts say that a number of major events in South Korea this year, including the World Cup soccer finals, compounded by the government's lowering of special consumption taxes late last year to spur buying, will drive the market up.