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Auto exports to U.S., Saudi Arabia dip; Australia emerges as No. 2 auto market

All Headlines 10:35 August 28, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- Auto exports to the United States, South Korea's No. 1 auto market, and Saudi Arabia sharply plunged in the first seven months of the year, while those to Australia, Germany and Mexico soared during the cited period, industry data showed Sunday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), vehicle shipments to six countries -- the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Canada, Vietnam, Russia and Chile -- dropped in the first seven months of the year, but exports to Australia, Britain, Germany and Mexico rose sharply.

In particular, auto shipments to Saudi Arabia, last year's No. 2 auto market for South Korea, dropped 40 percent from a year earlier to US$1.31 billion in the January-July period, marking the first decline in 14 years.

In 2002, auto exports to the Middle Eastern country dipped 10.1 percent. Last year, auto shipments to Saudi Arabia reached $3.67 billion, the data showed.

A sharp plunge in oil prices was attributed to such a sharp dip in exports to the oil-rich country, which sapped demand for new autos there.

Auto shipments to the U.S. also sank 6.7 percent in the first seven months of the year to $9.92 billion, set to mark the first annual decline since 2009, when the country suffered a 25.6 percent dip in auto exports to the world's No. 2 auto market.

In contrast, Australia became South Korea's No. 2 auto market this year with auto exports to Australia rising 20 percent over the cited period to $1.33 billion. The sharp rise came as Hyundai Motor and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp.'s compact sedans, such as the i30, gained huge popularity there, the data showed.


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