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Carmakers' July sales fall 3 pct on weak overseas demand

All Headlines 17:34 August 01, 2018

By Choi Kyong-ae

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- The combined sales of South Korea's five carmakers fell 3 percent last month from a year earlier as overseas demand remained weak, the companies said Wednesday.

The five automakers -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. -- sold a total of 639,099 vehicles in July, down from 658,939 units a year earlier, according to their monthly sales data.

Their domestic sales rose 2.4 percent to 133,792 vehicles last month from 130,611 units a year ago. But overseas sales declined 4.4 percent to 505,307 autos from 528,328 during the same period, the data showed.

From top to bottom: the corporate logos of Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Chevrolet (GM Korea), Renault Samsung Motors and SsangYong Motor (Yonhap)

Hyundai's sales were affected by production losses resulting from partial strikes at local plants that were resolved in a wage deal reached last month, and sluggish sales in major markets, such as China, the top carmaker here said in a statement.

Hyundai and its 34 percent-owned affiliate Kia have yet to make a full rebound in China after suffering sharp sales declines last year due to the diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, a corporate source said.

In July, Hyundai's sales fell 6.5 percent to 339,694 vehicles from 363,127 units a year earlier. Kia's rose 5.1 percent to 230,878 from 219,699 during the same period on recovering demand in emerging markets.

With an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China emerging as the biggest worry for carmakers, Hyundai plans to launch the all-new Santa Fe and the facelifted Tucson sport-utility vehicle in the United States in the second half to bolster sales. Kia plans to roll out its new K3 compact in the U.S. later this year, the companies said.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker, aim to achieve a combined sales target of 7.55 million vehicles for 2018, slightly higher than the 7.25 million units they sold last year.

GM Korea, the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., posted an 11 percent on-year drop in sales for July with numbers falling to 37,046 from 41,406. Its domestic sales fell 17 percent to 9,000 from 10,801 during the cited period, with exports down 8.4 percent to 28,046 from 30,605.

The U.S.-made Chevrolet Equinox SUV and the upgraded Chevy Spark minicar, both launched in June, didn't help buoy sales in July.

In its broad self-rescue efforts, the GM unit plans to introduce 15 vehicles in the local market over the next five years. The Traverse SUV is the third model to be added to its lineup. GM owns a 77 percent stake in GM Korea.

Renault Samsung's sales plunged 20 percent on-year to 18,565 from 23,294 on lower demand for most of its vehicles. Renault S.A. owns an 80 percent stake in Renault Samsung.

SsangYong Motor sold 12,628 autos last month, up 11 percent from 11,413 units a year ago. The company is 72.85 percent owned by Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

The latest data showed that in the January-July period, overall sales of the five carmakers inched up 1.9 percent to 4.7 million vehicles from 4.6 million a year ago.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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