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Carmakers' Nov. sales fall 5 pct on weak overseas demand

All News 17:50 December 03, 2018

SEOUL, Dec. 3 (Yonhap) -- Vehicle sales of South Korea's five carmakers fell 5 percent in November from a year earlier on weak overseas demand amid trade disputes between the world's two biggest automobile markets, corporate data showed Monday.

The five carmakers -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. -- sold a combined 720,892 vehicles last month, down from 758,494 units a year ago, corporate sales data showed.

The overall monthly sales results were affected by weak sales of Hyundai and Kia in China.

At the Group of 20 summit held in Argentina over the weekend, the so-called G-2 economies of the United States and China reached a ceasefire agreement on additional tariffs as they agreed to work toward a substantive agreement within 90 days. But uncertainties remain for exporters which rely on the two countries, such as Hyundai and Kia.

Domestic sales declined 0.34 percent to 139,862 vehicles last month from 140,342 units a year ago. Overseas sales were down 6.0 percent to 581,030 autos from 618,152 during the same period, the data said.

This compilation photo shows (clockwise from upper left) the corporate logos of Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, SsangYong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors and the Chevrolet badge of cars made by GM Korea. (Yonhap)

This compilation photo shows (clockwise from upper left) the corporate logos of Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, SsangYong Motor, Renault Samsung Motors and the Chevrolet badge of cars made by GM Korea. (Yonhap)

Hyundai's sales fell 4.2 percent to 403,381 units last month from 421,110 a year ago. Sales of its 34 percent-owned affiliate Kia also declined 3.8 percent to 247,115 from 257,000 during the same period.

The two carmakers overseas sales remained weak as the trade conflict between the G-2 countries led to lower demand in China.

Higher recall-related costs, as well as quality-related expenses in the U.S., are expected to weigh on Hyundai's sales for the time being.

Hyundai launched the all-new Santa Fe sport utility vehicle and the face-lifted Tucson SUV in the U.S. this summer to revive sales. Kia introduced the new K3 compact in the U.S. But the models didn't buoy overall sales as expected.

Next year, Hyundai and Kia plan to launch the Palisade flagship SUV and the upgraded Soul boxcar in the U.S. and other markets to stimulate sales.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, aim to sell a total of 7.55 million vehicles in 2018. In the January-November period, they sold a combined 6.75 million units.

GM Korea and Renault Samsung Motors posted weak results last month.

GM Korea, the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., reported a 9.2 percent on-year decline in November sales to 38,621 autos from 42,543 a year ago. Renault Samsung's sales plunged 42 percent to 10,194 from 17,457 during the cited period.

GM Korea launched the U.S.-made Equinox SUV and the upgraded Chevy Spark minicar in June, but they didn't help boost sales in the past five months. A monthslong dispute between the company and the union over the establishment of a separate R&D corporation remains a major uncertainty. The union has strongly opposed the R&D separation plan as it sees the move as part of GM's steps to exit the country in the long term.

In 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.

SsangYong Motor was the only carmaker which was able to pull off an on-year gain last month, with sales rising 7.8 percent to 13,030 from 12,082. Strong sales of the Rexton Sports SUV helped the tally.

From January through November, the five firms' sales inched up 0.4 percent to 7.51 million vehicles from 7.48 million in the year-ago period, the latest data showed.


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