South Korean automakers’ sales fell 35% last month despite hopes a weaker won and growing demand for smaller cars would help them weather the current economic storm.


“The January figures are worse than expected, confirming expectations that their car sales may fall by double-digit rates in the first quarter,” Dongbu Securities autos analyst Yun Tae-sik told Reuters. “Nothing, even a softer won and smaller cars, can reverse the current global slump.”


Hyundai Motor car sales fell 26.7% while affiliate Kia Motors saw January sales slump 37.9%.


The five South Korean five automakers together sold 312,725 vehicles in January, down from 479,004 a year earlier. Overseas sales, which account for a tenth of all South Korean exports, dropped 37.4%, Reuters said.


Fifth-ranked SsangYong Motor, which filed for court receivership last month, and stopped production completely for some days, sold just 1,644 vehicles, down 82% from a year ago.


Ssangyong production resumed on Monday, the company said.