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November 16, 2005

SOUTH KOREA: Auto making industry targets higher spot on global scale

South Korea has set a target of becoming the world's fourth-largest automaker by 2015, up two places from its current sixth position.

South Korea has set a target of becoming the world’s fourth-largest automaker by 2015, up two places from its current sixth position.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) has unveiled a plan to increase annual automobile production by 95% to 7.6 million vehicles in 10 years, from the current 3.91 million units a year, the Korea Times said.

South Korea will capture 11% of the world’s auto production market in 2015, the MOCIE said in its joint seminar with the Korea Federation of Industries (FKI) in Yoido, Seoul.

“We believe the feasibility to outperform French automakers in production is quite high,” a MOCIE official told the paper.

He reportedly said the issue is whether Korea could overtake China or Germany to achieve the goal. The United States is the biggest auto producer, followed by Japan, Germany, China and France.

Though the official said it is difficult to predict the expansion of Chinese carmakers, he said the ministry and the FKI are convinced Korea can outstrip China or Germany.

Chinese automakers, including the Shanghai Automotive Industry, have surpassed Korean and French competitors in production over the past few years.

The government and business leaders expect the project will create 280,000 jobs over the next 10 years and automakers will see their exports, including auto parts, top US$58 billion in 2015, the Korea Times said.

For a successful project, the MOCIE has decided to enhance the development of eco-friendly vehicles for the global market.

The government will also call for domestic auto parts producers, including Hyundai Mobis, to secure overseas markets.

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