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May 1, 2008

SOUTH KOREA: Exports to CEE now exceed WE

Central and Eastern Europe including Russia is rapidly emerging as a high growth destination for South Korean automakers, with exports to the region surpassing those to West European countries.

Central and Eastern Europe including Russia is rapidly emerging as a high growth destination for South Korean automakers, with exports to the region surpassing those to West European countries.

A total of 123,600 vehicles were exported to the region in the first three months of this year, which ranked second only to the 147,905 shipments to North America, according to a report by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA).

In the same period, South Korea sold 93,722 vehicles to West Europe, which means East Europe is now the second biggest market for Korean cars. The Middle East and Latin America were behind them with 92,671 and 84,864, respectively.

Exports to East Europe rose by 29,832 vehicles year-on-year while those to West Europe fell by 50,124.

The value of exports was also reversed in the two European regions, as exports to East Europe hit $1.44 billion to surpass West Europe’s $1.26 billion.

Russia led the boom in the bloc, also becoming the second biggest customer overseas. Sales in the country were tallied at 72,042, up from 52,616, to trail only the United States, which purchased 147,905 Korean automobiles.

Ukraine and Hungary also turned out notable upward spirals with 17,093 and 14,043 units, respectively.

“All Korean automakers are now setting their eyes on the region,” a KAMA official told the Korea Times.

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