SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean carmakers’ sales rose 4.8 percent last month from a year earlier helped by strong demand for sport utility vehicles (SUVs) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, industry data showed Monday.
The five carmakers in South Korea — Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. — sold a combined 597,213 vehicles in January, up from 569,929 units a year ago, according to data from the companies.
Their domestic sales jumped 17 percent to 116,270 units in January from 480,943 a year ago. Overseas sales also climbed 2.3 percent to 480,943 from 470,327 during the same period, the data showed.
Hyundai and its affiliate Kia saw their robust domestic sales prop up the monthly sales results.
In January, Hyundai’s sales rose 1.6 percent to 319,959 units from 314,825 a year ago, and Kia’s climbed 2.5 percent to 226,298 from 220,734 during the same period.
Robust local sales of Hyundai’s Palisade, Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs and Kia’s Sportage and Seltos SUVs allowed them to offset weak overseas sales last month.
Strong local sales of the GV70 and GV80 SUVs under Hyundai’s independent Genesis brand also buoyed Hyundai’s sales results last month.
This year, Hyundai and Kia said they will continue to focus on promoting their SUV models to ride out the virus crisis in global markets.
The carmakers aim to sell a combined 7.08 million vehicles this year, 1.7 percent lower than the 7.2 million units they sold last year.
Three other carmakers came up with improved sales results last month helped by increased exports.
SsangYong Motor, the South Korean unit of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., reported a 13 percent on-year jump in January sales to 8,648 units.
Mahindra is in the process of selling its controlling stake in SsangYong as part of its global reorganization plans amid the extended pandemic.
GM Korea Co., the local unit of General Motors Co., said its sales jumped 76 percent on-year to 36,126 units last month.
Renault S.A.’s local unit Renault Samsung also posted a 36 percent on-year gain in January sales to 2,618 vehicles.