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March 6, 2017

South Korean domestic sales rise in February

Domestic sales among South Korea’s five main automakers increased by 8.1% to 106,210 units in February, from 110,616 units in the same month of last year, according to preliminary data released individually by the country’s vehicle manufacturers.

Domestic sales among South Korea’s five main automakers increased by 8.1% to 106,210 units in February, from 110,616 units in the same month of last year, according to preliminary data released individually by the country’s vehicle manufacturers.

The data does not include sales by low-volume commercial vehicle manufacturers, including Tata-Daewoo and Daewoo Bus Corporation, which typically account for up to 2% of the domestic market.

Also not included in the data are sales of imported vehicles, which were estimated at just over 12% of the total vehicle market last year. These are covered in a separate report when the data is released later in the month.

The market in February 2017 was helped by this year’s lunar new year holidays falling in January so there were more working days in February than a year ago. After a slight sales decline in January, the rebound in February meant that year to date sales rose by 4.1% to 225,822 units, from 216,924 units a year earlier.

The performance of the individual manufacturers in their home market last month was mixed, with Hyundai, Renault-Samsung and Ssangyong reporting strong growth, while Kia’s sales were flat and GM posted a moderate decline.

Global sales among the country’s ‘big five’ automakers, including vehicles produced overseas by Hyundai-Kia, also increased in February, by 2.5% to 645,932 units from 629,904 units a year earlier, with both domestic and overseas sales performing positively.

In the first two months of the year, global sales were just slightly higher at 1,264,862 units compared with 1,256,219 units in the same period a year earlier.

Overseas sales, including vehicles produced overseas by Hyundai-Kia, increased 1.4% to 526,320 units last month, from 519,288 units a year earlier, with sluggish sales in the US more than offset by growth elsewhere. Year to date overseas sales were flat at 1,039,040 units, from 1,039,295 units in the same period of last year.

Hyundai Motor’s global sales increased by 1.5% to 341,345 units in February, from 336,200 units a year earlier, mainly reflecting a strong rebound in domestic sales after a weak performance in the previous month. In the first two months of the year, global sales were 1.4% higher at 683,993 units, from 674,235 units a year earlier.

Domestic sales jumped by 8.7% to 53,113 units in February, from 48,844 units a year earlier, helped by the recent launch of the Grandeur executive saloon and strong sales of the Sonata and Avante models. Cumulative two month sales were flat at 98,213 units, however, from 98,696 units a year earlier – reflecting weak sales in January.

Overseas sales rose just slightly in February, by 0.3% to 288,232 units from 287,356 units a year earlier, reflecting sluggish sales in the US. In the first two months of the year, overseas sales were 1.8% higher at 585,780 units, compared with 575,539 units a year earlier.

Kia Motors‘ global sales rose by 2.1% to 227,823 units in February, from 223,160 units a year earlier, reflecting mainly a recovery in overseas sales. A weak January meant that sales in the first two months of the year were 2.4% lower at 426,642 units, compared with 437,140 units in the same period a year ago.

Domestic sales were flat at 39,158 units in February, compared with 39,110 units a year earlier, resulting in a 4.4% fall in year-to-date sales to 74,170 units – from 77,615 units in the same period of last year. Kia is struggling to make progress in its home market despite the recent launch of the Morning [Picanto] small car and strong demand for the K7 midsize sedan and Mohave SUV. 

Overseas sales increased by 2.5% to 188,665 last month, from 184,050 units a year earlier, with demand particularly weak in the US. This helped drive down overseas output by 5.4% last month. Cumulative two month global sales slipped almost 2.0% to 352,472 units, from 359,525 units previously.

GM Korea’s global sales rose by 1.7% to 45,366 units in February, from 44,610 units a year earlier, on strong exports – which more than offset weak domestic sales. Global sales in the first two months of the year were 1.7% lower at 92,208 units compared with 93,804 units in the year earlier period.

The data does not include exports of CKD kits, for assembly overseas, which are substantial.

Domestic sales fell by 1.7% to 11,227 units last month, with strong demand for the Spark and Malibu models more than offset by delays in the roll-out of the Cruze compact car due to last-minute technical problems. Over the two month period, domestic sales were 10.5% higher at 22,870 units, compared with 20,696 units previously.

CBU [assembled vehicle] exports rose by 2.8% to 34,139 units in February, helped by strong overseas demand for the Trax model, but were 5.2% lower over the two month period at 69,338 units.

Renault-Samsung‘s global sales jumped by almost 34% to 20,582 units in February, from 15,360 units a year earlier, reflecting strong domestic and export sales. In the first two months of the year global sales also increased by over 34% at 40,838 units from 30,384 units a year earlier

Domestic sales jumped by over 88% to 8,008 units last month from 4,263 a year earlier, helped by the recent roll-out of the new SM6 mid-size sedan and the QM6 crossover vehicle. Sales in the first two months of the year were up by almost 143% at 15,448 units.

CBU exports rebounded last month, by almost 14% year on year, to 12,574 units after a slight decline in the previous month, resulting in a 5.9% rise in outbound shipments to 25,390 units in the two month period.

Ssangyong Motor, owned by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra, reported a 2.3% rise in global sales of built-up vehicles to 10,816 in February, from 10,574 units a year earlier, with buoyant domestic sales offset in part by weak exports. Sales in the first two months of the year were up by 2.8% at 21,236 units. 

Domestic sales rose by over 16% to 8,106 units last month, resulting in an almost 12% rise in two month sales to 15,121, while CBU exports fell by almost 25% to 2,710 units – resulting in a drop of over 14% to 6,115 units over the two-month period.

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