SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean carmakers’ sales fell 1 percent last month from a year earlier as the coronavirus outbreak continued to affect the automobile industry, industry data showed Monday.
The five carmakers in South Korea — Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. — sold a combined 700,782 vehicles in October, up from 708,406 units a year ago, according to data from the companies.
Strong demand for recreational vehicles helped the carmakers manage to show relatively sound sales results last month, though the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on consumer sentiment, the data showed.
The five carmakers’ domestic sales climbed 0.4 percent to 135,495 units in October from 134,895 a year ago. But their overseas sales declined 1.4 percent to 565,287 units from 573,511 during the same period.
Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, said they reduced production at their overseas plants to manage inventories due to lower demand amid the pandemic.
In October, Hyundai’s sales fell 4.2 percent to 385,947 autos from 402,712, while Kia’s rose 6.1 percent to 265,714 from 250,515 over the cited period.
Kia said its sales were boosted by strong demand for sport utility vehicle models, such as the Sportage and Seltos subcompact, and the Carnival minivan last month.
The two carmakers said they will continue to step up efforts to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on vehicle sales in global markets while focusing on boosting sales of SUV models.
GM Korea and SsangYong Motor reported improved monthly sales results.
GM Korea’s sales rose 4.1 percent on-year to 31,391 units last month from 30,158 a year ago, helped by robust domestic sales of its SUV models, like the Trailblazer and the U.S.-made Equinox.
SsangYong Motor saw its sales gain 0.6 percent to 10,197 units in October from 10,135 a year ago on increased exports.
But Renault Samsung was the worst performer last month.
Its sales plunged 49 percent to 7,533 units last month from 15,208 a year earlier due to lack of new models and sharply declined exports.
From January to October, the five carmakers sold a total of 5,605,347 autos, down 14 percent from 6,522,262 in the same period of last year.
Production at the five carmakers’ plants has fallen short of the levels before the coronavirus hit the automobile industry early this year.