Domestic sales among South Korea’s five main automakers increased by 14.6% to 120,400 units in August, from weak year-earlier sales of 105,085 units, according to data released individually by the vehicle manufacturers and compiled by just-auto.

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

Domestic sales in August 2014 were affected by strike action at some of the country’s main auto plants, which held back deliveries as the order backlog expanded. This year, local demand in the country has remained robust, nevertheless, following successive cuts in the Bank of Korea’s benchmark interest rate in the first half of the year to a historic, low 1.5%.

Cumulative domestic sales in the first eight months of the year increased by 5.1% to 988,445 units, from 940,722 units a year earlier.
Global sales among the country’s 'big five' automakers fell by 2.5% to 622,542 units, from 638,430 units a year earlier, reflecting weak overseas demand – mainly in China and eastern Europe – and stronger competition due to the strong won.

Cumulative global sales in the first eight months of 2015 fell by close to 2% to 5,712,527 units, from 5,827,702 units previously.

Hyundai Motor’s global sales increased by 3.3% to 369,792 units in August, from 358,098 units a year earlier, as the company stepped up marketing campaigns in key global markets to reverse flagging demand in previous months.

The company is struggling to cope with slowing demand in China and weak currencies in across Asia, particularly the Japanese yen. Its global sales in the first eight months of the year fell by over 2.8% to 3,143,384 units, from 3,235,494 units a year earlier.

Hyundai’s domestic sales jumped by 6.1% to 51,098 units in August, from 48,143 units a year earlier, reflecting strong sales of its Avante, Grandeur and Sonata passenger car models.

Competition from imports remained tough, however, reflecting a 1.6% decline in cumulative eight-month domestic sales to 447,134 units, from 454,217 units a year earlier.

Overseas sales increased by close to 3% to 318,694 in August, from 309,555 units a year earlier, resulting in a 3% decline to 2,697,079 units over the eight-month period – 2,779,863 units previously.

Kia Motors’ global sales fell by 9.9% to 195,982 units in August, from 217,437 units in the same month of last year, reflecting tough competition due to the strong won as well as weakening demand in key overseas markets – including China and Russia.

Cumulative global sales over the eight-month period were 3.4% lower at 1,959,265 units, from 2,000,087 units previously.

Overseas sales fell by over 16% year-on-year to 154,242 units, from 184,249 units a year earlier, while domestic sales jumped by 15.9% to 41,740 units, helped by strong local demand for the Sorento and Sportage models and the launch of the K5 passenger car model in July.

GM Korea’s global sales fell sharply in August, by over 16% to 35,940 units from 43,018 units a year earlier. This reflects a sharp decline in overseas sales, of almost 29% to 22,096 units, as the parent company continued its efforts to restructure the Chevrolet production base in favour of low-cost countries.

Domestic sales jumped by over 16% to 13,844 units, however, as GM Korea stepped up local marketing efforts to offset some of the overseas decline.

Cumulative global sales over the eight-month period were down by 3.9% at 403,3098 units, from 419,635 units in the same period of last year.

Renault-Samsung’s global sales fell by 4.8% to 10,057 units in August, from 10,559 units a year earlier, reflecting a near 34% drop in exports to 3,856 units on weak overseas sales of the QM5 SUV model.

Domestic sales rose by close to 31% to 6,201 units, driven by strong demand for the QM3 crossover vehicle. Cumulative eight-month global sales rose by 64% to 140,565 units, from 85,668 units previously.

SsangYong Motor, owned by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, reported an 11.5% rise in global sales to 11,771 units in August, from a revised 9,659 units a year earlier – reflecting weak demand in some key overseas markets. Global sales fell by 3.3% to 95,284 units in the first eight months of the year.

Domestic sales jumped by close to 46% to 7,517 units on strong demand for the new Tivoli SUV, while overseas sales fell by almost 28% to 3,254 units reflecting continued weak demand in markets such as Russia and the Ukraine.