Februarys Rogue exports gave Renault-Samsung growth in an otherwise poor month for Korean automakers

February's Rogue exports gave Renault-Samsung growth in an otherwise poor month for Korean automakers

Domestic sales among South Korea’s five main automakers declined by 3.5% to 103,247 units in February, compared with 107,004 units in the same month of last year, according to data released individually by the vehicle manufacturers.

The data does not include sales of South Korea’s low volume commercial vehicle manufacturers, including Tata-Daewoo and Daewoo Bus Corporation, which typically account for less than 2% of the domestic market combined.

The lunar new year fell in February this year, resulting in fewer working days in the month compared with last year. Cumulative sales in the first two months of 2015 were just 0.7% higher at 214,867 units, from 213,347 units in the year earlier period.

Global sales among the 'big-five', excluding knocked down (KD) kit exports by GM Korea, fell by 6.7% to 543,989 units, from 582,168 units a year earlier, reflecting lower output volumes and weaker demand in some key developing markets, including Russia and Ukraine. Global competition has also increased, particularly from Japanese automakers which have benefited from the weak yen.

Hyundai Motor reported a 5.5% year on year drop in global sales to 359,982 units in February, from 378,844 units a year earlier, reflecting weaker domestic and overseas sales. Cumulative sales in the first two months of the year fell by 5.7% to 746,471 units.

Hyundai’s domestic sales fell by 8.8% to 46,859 units last month, driven lower by a 29% fall in SUV sales. The Sonata remained its most popular model with 7,306 sales – boosted by strong demand for the hybrid variant. 

Overseas sales fell by 4.4% to 313,123 units, from 327,464 units a year earlier, reflecting weaker demand in developing markets such as Russia and the Ukraine and weaker output at home and in China due to the lunar new year.

Kia Motors’ global sales fell by 8.7% to 221,669 unit in February, from 242,797 units a year earlier, driven lower by weak overseas sales. Domestic sales were 1.2% higher at 35,450 units, helped by the recent introduction of the Sorento and Carnival models. The Morning small car was the company’s best selling domestic model with 7,127 deliveries.

Overseas sales fell by 10.4% to 186,219 units, from 207,799 units a year earlier, with deliveries also affected by the lunar new year and weaker demand in some key emerging markets.

Kia’s global sales in the first two months of the year fell by 6.7% to 402,313 units, despite a 4.6% increase in domestic sales to 72,207 units.

GM Korea reported an 11% drop in domestic sales to 9,163 units in February, from 10,301 units a year earlier, which the company also blames on fewer working days during the month. The Spark small car was its most popular domestic model last month with 2,978 sales, followed by the Cruze with 1,265 units and the Malibu with 1,251 units.

CBU (fully assembled) exports fell by 19.9% to 30,218 vehicles, reflecting mainly the recent withdrawal of the Chevrolet badge in Europe. Global sales, excluding CKD kit shipments which are significant, fell by 18% to 39,381 units.

Renault-Samsung’s global sales more than doubled to 15,630 units last month, from 7,717 units a year earlier, driven by a sharp rise in overseas sales. Domestic sales increased by 7.9% to 5,204 units thanks to strong demand for its SM5 flagship passenger car and the smaller SM3 model.

Overseas sales increased by 260% to 10,426 units, reflecting the recent launch of exports of the Renault Rogue.

Ssangyong Motor, owned by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, reported an 18.4% fall in global sales to 9,574 units in February, from 11,733 units a year earlier. 

Domestic sales rose by over 19% to 6,571 units thanks to strong demand for the Korando SUV range. Overseas sales fell by over 48% to 3,003, reflecting sharply lower demand in key exports markets such as Russia and Ukraine.

South Korean carmakers: domestic/overseas sales by brand, February 2015

Brands

Domestic

Overseas

Global

Hyundai

46,859

313,123

359,982

Kia

35,450

186,219

221,669

GM Korea

9,163

30,218

39,381

Renault-Samsung

5,204

10,426

15,630

Ssangyong

6571

3,003

9,574

Total

103,247

542,989

646,236

Sources : www.AsiaMotorBusiness.com, industry sources.