Domestic sales by South Korea’s five main automakers combined dropped by 24% to 134,761 units in June 2021 from 176,468 units a year earlier, according to preliminary data released individually by the companies.
The data did not include sales by South Korea’s low-volume commercial vehicle manufacturers, including Tata-Daewoo and Daewoo Bus Corporation, as well as sales of imported vehicles which will be covered by a separate report later this month. Together these accounted for close to 15% of total vehicle sales last year.
The global shortage of semiconductors continued to disrupt vehicle production in June, while overall domestic sales have been affected by surging coronavirus infections in the country. The government has extended the discounted 3.5% vehicle sales tax rate, down from 5.0%, until the end of the year to help support the local market.
All vehicle manufacturers reported falling sales in June, with Hyundai and Kia both reporting year-on-year declines of around 18% to 68,407 and 49,280 units respectively, while the smaller brands posted much sharper declines. GM Korea’s sales fell by almost 39% to 5,740 units last month; Renault-Samsung by close to 59% to 5,610 units; and Ssangyong’s by over 41% to 5,724 units.
Overall domestic sales in the first half of the year were down by 5.9% at 753,104 units from 800,089 units in the same period of 2020.
Global sales among the country’s “big-five” automakers, including vehicles produced overseas by Hyundai and Kia, increased by over 15% to 657,517 units in June 2021 from weak year-earlier sales of 571,146 units, reflecting the continued strong rebound in overseas sales. Total vehicle sales in the first half of the year were up by over 21% at 3,707,546 units from 3,059,137 units previously.
Overseas sales continued to rebound last month, by over 32% to 522,756 units from depressed year-earlier sales of 394,678 units, as demand in key markets such as Europe, South America and Russia rebounded strongly from depressed year-earlier levels. Overseas sales in the first six months of the year were up by over 31% at 2,962,025 units from 2,255,506 units in the same period of last year.
Hyundai Motor’s global sales jumped by over 14% to 354,409 vehicles in June from 309,827 units a year earlier, reflecting a rebound in overseas demand from depressed year-earlier levels. Total sales in the first six months of the year were up by over 26% at 2,028,974 units from 1,607,340 units in the same period of last year, led by SUVs such as the Palisade, Tucson, Santa Fe and the Genesis luxury brand.
The company is well on its way to achieving its 2021 target of 4.16m global sales, an 11% increase on last year’s 3.74m units, with electric vehicle models based on its dedicated E-GMP platform expected to make an impact starting with the Ioniq 5 model. Global sales of eco-friendly vehicles, including hybrids and zero-emission vehicles, rose by over 39% to 94,435 units in the first half of the year.
Domestic sales declined by over 18% to 68,407 units last month from 83,700 units a year earlier, despite buoyant demand for the Grandeur sedan and the luxury Genesis brand, while first-half sales were just slightly higher at 386,095 units from 384,613 a year earlier – reflecting a strong first quarter.
Overseas sales continued to rebound strongly in June, by over 26% to 286,002 units from 226,127 a year earlier, driven by climbing sales in Europe, South America and Russia. In the first six months of the year overseas sales increased by over 34% year-on-year to 1,642,879 units from 1,222,727 units.
Kia’s global sales rose by over 20% to 253,592 vehicles in June 2021 from 210,895 units a year earlier, driven by a continued rebound in overseas sales. Total volumes in the first six months of the year were up by over 23% at 1,437,427 units from 1,165,068 units a year earlier, with the Sportage SUV its best-selling model globally.
Domestic sales fell by almost 18% to 49,280 vehicles last month after rebounding by 41% to 60,005 units a year earlier, but were just slightly higher at 278,384 units year-to-date from 278,286 units previously – underpinned by strong demand for the Sorento and the Carnival MPV.
Overseas sales bounced by over 35% to 204,312 units in June from weak year-earlier sales of 150,890 units, resulting in an almost 31% rise in the cumulative six-month total to 1,159,043 units from 886,782 units – driven by rebounding demand in Europe and North America.
The company said it will step up promotions of its new K8 sedan, which together with new electric vehicle models such as the EV6 – due out in the second half of the year – should help it reach its full-year target of a 12% sales rise to 2.92 million global sales from just over 2.6 million units in 2020.
GM Korea’s global sales rose by 3.4% to 26,876 vehicles in June 2021 from a weak 25,983 units a year earlier, reflecting a strong rebound in exports. The global semiconductor shortage had some impact on the company’s production volumes, but most of the decline is attributable to weak domestic demand. In the first six months of the year global sales declined by almost 7% to 154,783 units from 166,098 units previously.
Domestic sales plunged by almost 39% to 5,740 units last month from 9,349 units a year earlier and were down by over 19% at 33,160 units in the first six months of the year from 41,092 units. Exports jumped by over 27% to 21,136 units in June from 16,634 units a year earlier, but were still down by almost 3% to 121,623 units year-to-date from 125,009 units.
Renault-Samsung, 81%-owned by France’s Renault, reported a slight decline in global sales to 14,166 vehicles in June from weak year-earlier sales of 14,260 units, despite a strong rebound in overseas sales. In the first six months of the year global sales were down by over 17% at 55,926 units compared with 67,666 units in the same period of last year.
Domestic sales continued to plummet last month, by almost 59% to 5,610 units from 13,668 units a year earlier and were down by over 44% at 28,820 year-to-date from 55,242 units, as the automaker faced increasingly tough competition from domestic rivals Hyundai and Kia and from imports.
Exports continued to rebound strongly in June, to 8,556 units from depressed year-earlier sales of 592 units, as the company continued to ramp up shipments of the XM3 SUV to Europe. In the first half of the year exports more than doubled to 27,086 units from 12,424 units.
Ssangyong Motor’s global sales fell by almost 17% to 8,474 vehicles in June from 10,181 units a year earlier, reflecting plunging domestic sales. Global sales in the first six months of the year were down by close to 19% at 40,134 units from 49,387 previously.
Ssangyong filed for bankruptcy on 21 December 2020 and began a debt-rescheduling process in April after its management failed to find a buyer for the company. Production earlier this year was disrupted by component shortages, with a number of suppliers refusing deliveries due to unpaid bills. Payments from a state-run fund helped restore supplies.
Domestic sales fell by over 41% to 5,724 units last month from 9,746 units a year earlier and by almost 35% to 26,625 units in the first half of the year from 40,855 units previously. Exports continued to rebound in June, to 2,750 units from 435 units a year earlier and were up by over 71% at 14,673 units year-to-date from 8,564 units.