SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s five carmakers said Thursday their combined sales rose 0.4 percent last month from a year earlier, helped by new models and a base effect.
The five automakers — Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. — sold a combined 613,796 vehicles in January, up from 611,364 units the previous year, according to the companies’ sales data.
Their domestic sales climbed 5.9 percent to 112,452 autos last month from 106,210 units a year ago. Overseas sales fell 0.8 percent to 501,344 from 505,154 during the same period, the data showed.
Overseas sales were still affected by slowing growth in demand, particularly from China and the United States. Domestically, salesimproved due to new vehicles and longer working days last month compared to 2017, when the Lunar New Year holidays fell in late January, the companies said.
The overall local sales were further helped by solid demand for newvehicles such as Hyundai’s Kona subcompact sport utility vehicle (SUV) as well as Kia’s small Stonic crossover SUV and Stinger sports sedan, data showed.
Hyundai Motor sold a total of 334,217 autos last month, down 1.4 percent from 338,948 units a year earlier. But Kia Motors’ overall salesgained 5.2 percent to 205,126 from 194,898 during the same period.
Looking ahead, the country’s two biggest carmakers expect spreading protectionism in the U.S. and other major markets as well as a low global economic growth trend to remain major worries going forward.
To revive sales in the U.S., Hyundai plans to launch the Kona in March and the all-new Santa Fe SUV in the world’s most important automobile market this summer. Kia plans to launch the Stonic in the U.S. market, where the Stinger sports car is already available.
Hyundai executives said the Santa Fe midsize SUV will determine the company’s sales results for this year.
Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker, aim to achieve a combined sales target of 7.55 millionvehicles for 2018, slightly higher than the 7.25 million units they sold last year.
GM Korea posted a 9.5 percent on-year drop in January sales to 42,401 due to a steep decline in domestic sales. SsangYong Motor reported a 2.1 percent on-year sales decline to 10,205 last month onweak exports.
But Renault Samsung’s sales rose 7.9 percent on-year to 21,847 last month on robust exports.