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February 1, 2011

SOUTH KOREA: Exports drive automakers’ sales rise

All five South Korean carmakers saw January sales increase year on year due to strong export demand, industry data showed on Tuesday.

All five South Korean carmakers saw January sales increase year on year due to strong export demand, industry data showed on Tuesday.

Total sales rose 21.9% to 626,806 vehicles. Domestic sales grew 1.4% to 120,577 units and overseas sales, including exports, jumped 28.1% to 506,229 units, the Korea Herald said.

Hyundai Motor affiliate Kia Motors said January sales increased 33.1% to 217,243 vehicles last month, the third straight month it has sold more than 200,000 cars.

Domestic sales rose 19.1% from a year earlier to 40,502 units last month, with exports jumping 36.8% to 176,741 vehicles.

GM Daewoo Auto & Technology boosted volume 21.5% to 68,356 vehicles but that was a 3.9% drop from December.

Domestic sales rose 10.4% from the same period last year to 10,006 units with exports jumping 23.6% year on year to 58,350, up 2.7% from the previous month.

Ssangyong Motor, about to be swallowed up by Mahindra and Mahindra, saw its sales soar 64.7% year on year on strong overseas demand to 7,579 vehicles.

Domestic sales increased 41.8% on-year to 2,857 units with exports jumping 82.6% to 4,722 vehicles.

Hyundai Motor and Renault Samsung Motors exports rose but domestic sales in January declined. Hyundai sales in January increased 14.2% as a large increase in overseas sales more than offset a domestic sales drop of 7.3% to 55,412 units. Exports rose 20.3% to 254,388 vehicles.

Renault Samsung also posted similar changes. Last month, its overall sales increased 27.6% as an exports rise offset the decline in domestic sales. Domestic sales plunged 15.7% from a year earlier and 10.5% from December to 11,800 units. Exports kept the company’s sales growing from a year before with 12,028 vehicles shipped overseas, up 157.4% from the same month in 2010.

The company last week said it had introduced its mid-size passenger vehicle, the SM5, to Europe as the Renault Latitude.

Exports more than doubled to 115,785 units last year from a year earlier, but the company is still largely considered a domestic player as its domestic sales surpassed exports by nearly 40,000 units in 2010.

“Based on increased exports, Renault Samsung Motors will improve its image as a global enterprise while promoting balanced growth between exports and domestic sales,” a senior executive said.

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