Vehicle exports from South Korea fell 0.8% year on year to 680,000 units in the first quarter of 2024, according to data released by the Korea Customs Service (KCS).

In terms of value, exports increased 2.8% to a new first quarter record high of US$15.84bn, however, after shipments hit a record $70.9bn in the whole of 2023.

Q1 exports were driven by a 24% jump in shipments to the US to $8.7bn and by a 2.4% increase to Canada to $1.23bn.

This more than offset a 39% drop in shipments to Germany, a 13% fall to the UK and an almost 12% decline to Australia.

Exports to Europe were affected by shipping delays caused by geo-political tensions in the Red Sea.

The KCS noted strong exports of mid size and larger petrol driven vehicles offset a 3.3% drop in eco friendly vehicles to $5.84bn with battery electric vehicle shipments particularly weak. Exports of hybrid vehicles enjoyed quarterly record shipments worth $2.09bn.

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Imports of vehicles into South Korea fell for the third consecutive quarter with the value plunging 29% to $2.7bn.

Separate data released by the newly renamed Korea Automobile & Mobility Association (KAMA) showed shipments of eco friendly vehicles, comprising battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrids/plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, fell 5.6% to 178,003 units in the first quarter from 188,607 units a year earlier.