SEJONG, Oct. 7 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s car exports plunged at the fastest clip in nearly seven years last month due mainly to partial strikes at local carmakers and contracted global demand, the government said Friday.
Outbound shipments of vehicles came to 156,680 units in September, down 23.7 percent from 205,274 units tallied a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
It marked the steepest on-year decline since October 2009, when the figure posted a 24-percent drop in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.
From a month earlier, it gained 11.5 percent from a seven-year low of 140,506 tallied in August.
The total value of overseas shipments also tumbled 24 percent on-year to US$2.42 billion in September, with a 5.1-percent on-month rise.
For the first nine months of the year, car exports sank 15.3 percent on-year to 1.85 million units, with the value dipping 14.7 percent to $28.7 billion.
“Car exports are directly hit by ongoing strikes at local carmakers,” the ministry said. “At the same time, slumping demand in emerging countries also dragged down overseas shipments.”
Unionized workers of South Korea’s leading auto makers — Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. — staged a series of strikes in recent months, causing a production disruption in output and exports.
As a result, total output by five local automobile companies slumped 22.7 percent on-year in September to 258,026 units from 333,759 due to the walkouts.
Domestic car sales, including sales of imported cars, fell 13.8 percent on-year to 128,674 units last month partly because of the end of a government-led tax-cut program on passenger cars on June 30.