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Auto sales up 6.4 pct in May on tax cut, robust overseas demand

All News 16:31 June 01, 2016

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) – The sales of five automakers in South Korea rose 6.4 percent in May from a year earlier on the back of an extended tax cut on car purchases that drove up domestic sales, and a recovery in overseas demand, industry data showed Wednesday.

The combined sales of the five companies -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Co., and Ssangyong Motor Co. -- came to 761,981 units in May, according to the data provided by each company.

Domestic sales jumped 20 percent on-year to 145,815 units as new models along with an extended tax cut on car purchases helped attract customers, while exports increased 3.6 percent to 616,166 units despite the protracted global slump and tougher competition with rivals.

Industry leader Hyundai Motor sold 6,825 and 368,253 units, respectively, at home and abroad in May, with both sales surging about 10 percent from a year earlier.

Its truck Porter was the best-selling car among all models, ranking at the top for three consecutive months.

"Sales of sedans and recreational vehicles sharply rose compared with a year ago to drive up the overall growth," Hyundai Motor said in a statement.

Kia Motors, Hyundai's smaller affiliate, posted mixed results at home and abroad.

Its domestic sales jumped 19 percent on-year to 47,614 units, with new hybrid SUV Niro enjoying popularity since its launch in April.

Outbound shipments, however, retreated 3 percent on-year to 195,985 units due to sluggish demand in emerging markets amid the prolonged economic downturn.

Kia said it expects a new plant in Mexico that started operations last month will help boost sales in Latin America in the latter half of this year.

"The Mexico plant will produce about 10,000 K3 sedans this year," Kia Motors said in a statement. "Once K3s go on sale in Central and South American nations, it would help drive up overseas sales."

GM Korea, the Korean unit of U.S. carmaker General Motors, saw its domestic sales reach a monthly record of 17,179 units in May, led by the Spark city car and mid-sized sedan Malibu. But its exports fell 18.2 percent to 34,728 vehicles.

Renault Samsung, the Korean operation of French automaker Renault S.A., posted robust sales with its new lineup.

Its domestic sales soared 68.2 percent on-year to 11,004 units in May thanks to brisk sales of the SM6 midsize sedan. Exports also increased 6.3 percent on-year to 13,109 vehicles, led by strong demand for the Nissan Rogue SUV in the North American region.

Ssangyong Motor, owned by India's Mahindra & Mahindra, posted marked growth in the domestic market for the fifth consecutive month on the back of its compact SUV Tivoli. Its long-body Tivoli Air released in March also helped boost sales.

Domestic sales gained 18.5 percent on-year to 9,191 units, while exports slid 3.3 percent to 4,091 units due to weaker demand abroad.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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