The global auto industry slowdown slowed Hyundai Kia Automotive Group’s exports to emerging markets last month.

The carmaker’s exports to emerging markets had been fairing relatively well compared to the mature auto markets of western Europe and the United States, shoring up exports last year.

However, last month saw the group take massive setbacks, the Korea Herald reported. In addition, the rate of decline seen in some regions last month was larger even than that seen in established markets, where the carmaker’s sales have been effected by the global crisis for some time.

Hyundai Motor and KIA Motors exported 7,161 vehicles made at their local facilities to Latin American nations last month, which was 71.4% lower than the 25,090 units recorded during the same month last year.

The rate of decline in exports to Latin America was more than double the rate at which Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors’ exports to the United States fell last month.

In January, the two carmakers exported 35,898 locally produced vehicles to the United States, which was 35.4% lower than the 55,617 vehicles the companies shipped in January 2007.

Exports to eastern Europe also suffered a large setback in January. Last month, the two carmakers’ shipments fell 64.2% from a year ago to 6,126 vehicles.

Hyundai has recently postponed plans to build its own plant in Brazil while Kia has cut production at its plant in Slovakia.