SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s exports of automobiles plunged nearly 16 percent in August from a year earlier, data showed Friday, due mainly to the global virus pandemic dealing a harsh blow to consumer sentiment around the world.
Local carmakers shipped 136,538 units of cars overseas last month, down 15.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
In terms of value, auto exports shed 12.8 percent over the period to reach US$2.6 billion.
In the first eight months of 2020, the country shipped 1,143,839 units of automobiles, down 28.9 percent on-year, the data added.
Industry leader Hyundai Motor Co.’s exports dropped 31.3 percent over the period due to unsold inventories in the overseas market.
Kia Motors Corp., an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, saw its exports remain nearly unchanged on-year on the back of the strong sales of eco-friendly models and SUVs, despite the overall global slump.
Exports of Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. fell 71.9 percent and 37.5 percent, respectively, over the cited period.
Outbound shipments of GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., however, rose 17.5 percent on the back of the strong sales of minicars and SUVs.
By destination, exports to North America climbed 12.3 percent, while shipments to the European Union slipped 26.9 percent.
Outbound shipments to the Middle East halved, while those to Asian nations dipped 36.3 percent, according to the data.
South Korea’s combined auto production decreased 6.4 percent on-year to 233,357 units in August as some lines of Hyundai and Kia went through renovations, while the virus pandemic also slowed down such activity.
Domestic sales edged down 1.2 percent to 135,349 units amid the country’s social distancing.