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S. Korea's global auto sales up 3.1 pct in Aug.

All Headlines 17:08 September 01, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- Combined sales of South Korea-based automakers continued to grow from a year earlier in August as a sharp increase in overseas sales more than offset a drop in domestic sales, the companies' data showed Thursday.

In August, the five automakers here sold a combined total of 641,761 cars globally, up 3.1 percent from 622,755 cars sold in the same month last year.

The five automakers include industry leader Hyundai Motor Co., its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp. and GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of U.S. carmaker General Motors Co. The rest are Ssangyong Motor Co., the local unit of Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Lt., and Renault Samsung Motors Co. the local unit of French automaker Renault S.A.

The slight increase in global sales came despite a sharp drop in the automakers' domestic sales, ironically led by the two top automakers -- Hyundai and Kia.

Hyundai posted a 17.6 percent on-year plunge to 42,112 cars in domestic sales, while Kia followed suit with a 10.4 percent cut to 37,403 units.

They both blamed a reduction in the number of working days during the August holiday season, but also a series of labor strikes.

Unionized workers of Hyundai Motor staged 14 rounds of partial walkouts between July and August while their union leaders were locked in heated negotiations over a wage increase.

The company earlier said the strikes have caused a 65,000-car reduction in production. On Thursday, the automaker said its outbound shipments plunged 39.8 percent on-year in August alone due to its reduced output here.

Kia Motors, too, said its domestic output tumbled 23.4 percent on-year last month as its own unionized workers joined their Hyundai peers in several rounds of partial strikes in an apparent show of support and alliance.

With domestic sales of the two largest automakers going south, the combined domestic sales of all five automakers slipped 10.4 percent on-year to 107,677 cars.

GM Korea also reported a 7.7 percent on-year drop to 12,773 cars in local sales.

Renault Samsung, on the other hand, saw its domestic sales spike 24.4 percent on-year to 7,713, while Ssangyong Motor reported a 2.1 percent increase to 7,676 cars.

The five automakers' overseas sales, including sales of cars produced overseas, gained 6.3 percent on-year to 534,084.

Ssangyong Motor's vehicle exports spiked 95.2 percent on-year to 7,527 in August, helped by strong demands for its trendy mini SUVs the Tivoli and the Tivoli Air.

Renault Samsung said its exports surged 38.4 percent on-year to 4,502 cars, with GM Korea reporting a 5 percent gain to 23,198 vehicles.

Kia Motors had its overseas sales spike 18.3 percent to 182,522 cars despite a 23.4 percent plunge in exports, as its overseas production of cars surged 56.7 percent in August, it said.

Hyundai Motor said its overseas sales slipped 0.8 percent to 316,335 cars in August, becoming the only South Korea-based automaker to report a drop in overseas sales.

"Outbound shipments of cars produced at local facilities dropped 38.3 percent on-year in August, but an 11.6 percent increase in overseas production nearly helped make up for the decline," the company said in a press release.

"As market conditions are expected to continue deteriorating in the future, Hyundai Motor will work to keep its domestic and overseas sales growing through active marketing efforts centering around its new vehicle models," it added.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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