SEOUL, July 14 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s exports of automobiles dropped 33.4 percent in the first six months of 2020 from a year earlier, due mainly to the new coronavirus pandemic that has strained global business activities while weighing on consumers’ sentiment, data showed Tuesday.
Local carmakers shipped 826,710 units of cars overseas in the January-June period, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
In terms of value, outbound shipments of cars reached US$15.76 billion over the period, also down 27.3 percent on-year.
The slump in outbound shipments came as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to lockdowns across the globe, with overseas distributors of South Korean automobiles also shutting down their businesses.
The global economic crisis sparked by the pandemic also induced consumers to have second thoughts about purchasing brand new cars.
South Korea’s combined auto production decreased 19.8 percent on-year to 1,627,534 units in the first half due to the fewer number of working days coupled with shortages in some parts.
Domestic sales, on the other hand, shot up 7.2 percent to 930,464 in the first six months of the year on the back of carmakers’ promotions and marketing efforts.
In June, however, South Korea’s exports of cars showed signs of a possible recovery as key economies around the globe slowly began to resume business activities.
Outbound shipments of cars in June decreased at a slower pace of 37.4 percent to 132,514 units, compared with a whopping 57.5 percent on-year drop posted in May, the data showed.
Industry leader Hyundai Motor Co.’s exports dipped nearly 40 percent in terms of units in June due to the weak demand from the European and North American markets, despite strong sales of the Palisade SUV.
Kia Motors Corp., an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, also saw its exports fall 22.6 percent over the period as its overseas distributors shut down businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Outbound shipments of GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., also nearly halved by falling 43.2 percent, according to the data.
Exports of Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. fell 94.7 percent and 77.6 percent, respectively, over the cited period.
By destination, exports to North America fell 25.3 percent, and shipments to the European Union lost 13.3 percent on-year in June. Sales to Asian countries moved down 42 percent.
Last month, domestic sales increased a whopping 41.9 percent on-year as consumers rushed to purchase new cars before some of the country’s tax-cut programs expired at the end of June.
Local production of automobiles decreased 10.8 percent to 297,019 units.