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Auto sales fall 1.7 pct in July as demand remains weak

Autos 17:42 August 01, 2019

By Choi Kyong-ae

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's five carmakers posted a 1.7 percent on-year decline in sales last month as demand remained weak in global markets, industry data showed Thursday.

The five carmakers -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. -- sold a combined 636,881 vehicles in July, down from 647,574 units a year earlier, according to the companies' data.

The auto makers blamed lower demand in major markets, such as China, for their lackluster sales results last month and expressed concerns that a prolonged trade war between the United States and China would continue to weigh on their sales for the rest of the year.

Domestic sales fell 2 percent to 131,135 units last month from 133,792 a year ago. Overseas sales also declined 0.2 percent to 505,746 from 513,782 during the same period, the data showed.

Auto sales fall 1.7 pct in July as demand remains weak - 1

Hyundai and Kia, the country's two biggest carmakers, reported no significant rebound in sales last month due mainly to low demand in China, the world's biggest automobile market.

Hyundai's sales rose 1.6 percent to 352,468 units last month from 346,865 a year earlier.

The maker of the Sonata sedan and the Santa Fe sport utility vehicle expects its Palisade SUV, which is now on sale in the U.S. market, to help boost sales in the second half.

Sales at Kia, Hyundai's 34 percent-owned affiliate, fell 2.7 percent to 225,902 units from 232,182 a year ago.

The two may have to bolster sales in China to achieve their sales target of 7.55 million vehicles for this year. From January to June, their sales in China fell 0.8 percent to 513,000 autos from 517,000 a year earlier, the data showed.

Offsetting unimpressive sales in China, their sales in the U.S. rose 3 percent to 648,000 from 629,000 during the same period.

The three other carmakers all posted declines in July sales due to weak demand for their models.

GM Korea sold 31,851 vehicles last month, down 14 percent from 37,046 the previous year, on weak demand for the Impala and the Malibu sedan.

SsangYong's sales fell 17 percent to 10,498 from 12,628 over the cited period and Renault Samsung's dropped 15 percent to 15,874 from 18,565.

From January to July, the five firms' overall sales were down 4.5 percent to 4,503,096 from 4,715,026 in the first half of 2018, the data showed.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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