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S. Korea's auto sales shrink 2.1 pct in Sept.

All News 16:47 October 04, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) -- Global sales of vehicles produced in South Korea shrank from a year earlier last month as domestic sales of the two largest carmakers here suffered huge setbacks due to reduced outputs caused by labor strikes, the companies' data showed Tuesday.

In September, the combined sales of five automakers here came to 693,529, down 2.1 percent from the 708,524 sold globally in the same month last year.

The five automakers are Hyundai Motor Co.; Kia Motors Corp.; GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of U.S. automaker General Motors Co.; Renault Samsung Motors Co., the local unit of French automaker Renault S.A.; and Ssangyong Motor Co., the local unit of Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

The combined local sales of the five carmakers dropped 13.2 percent on-year to 111,159 vehicles, while local industry leader Hyundai Motor alone posted a 20 percent on-year plunge in its domestic sales.

S. Korea's auto sales shrink 2.1 pct in Sept. - 1

Hyundai Motor has faced more than a dozen rounds of walkouts staged by its unionized workers at its main production facilities since July that have so far caused a cut in output of more than 100,000 vehicles, company officials have said.

Kia Motors, the country's No. 2 automaker and an affiliate of Hyundai, also reported a 14.9 percent cut in its domestic sales last month, as it too has faced several rounds of labor strikes sparked by failed negotiations over wage hikes.

Despite their apparently large cuts in domestic output, both Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors continued expanding their overseas sales, albeit at a slow pace, as they both boosted their overseas production.

For instance, Hyundai Motor said its outbound shipments of locally produced cars plunged 20.9 percent on-year to 56,315 cars in September.

Its overall overseas sales, however, advanced 0.8 percent to 345,754 cars as its sales of cars produced overseas gained 6.4 percent to 289,439.

Kia Motors had its overseas sales grow 7.5 percent on-year to 197,113 last month, as its sales of cars produced overseas spiked 27.7 percent on-year to 134,413, more than offsetting a 19.5 percent cut in overseas sales of cars produced here.

Smaller carmakers also had difficulties in keeping their domestic sales growing.

Domestic sales of Ssangyong Motor slipped 1.2 percent on-year to 8,011 cars, while those of GM Korea plunged 14.1 percent to 14,078 vehicles.

Renault Samsung was the only South Korea-based carmaker to report a sales increase in the local market, as its recently launched SM6 midsized sedan and the new QM6 crossover SUV helped boost its domestic sales 39.6 percent on-year to 9,222 cars in September.

Renault Samsung's exports, however, tumbled 72.1 percent on-year to 4,335 cars.

"September exports came to 4,335 units as the output of the Nissan Rogue produced here had been temporarily reduced due to a model year change. Last month, a total of 3,127 Nissan Rogue vehicles were shipped overseas, but the company expects to ship about 10,000 units of the 2017 Nissan Rogue from this month, recovering its previous level of exports," the company said in a press release.

GM Korea said its exports tumbled 11.6 percent on-year to 31,035 cars in September. Ssangyong Motor saw its exports jump 22.2 percent to 4,133 vehicles over the cited period.


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