By Choi Kyong-ae
SEOUL, Sept. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's five carmakers posted a 4.2-percent on-year decline in sales last month as demand remained weak in global markets, industry 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 639,435 vehicles in August, down from 658,373 units a year earlier, according to the companies' data.
Their lackluster sales were mainly attributable to lower demand in China and emerging markets and uncertainties surrounding a yearlong trade battle between the United States and China -- the world's two biggest automobile markets.
Domestic sales fell 6.2 percent to 118,479 units last month from 520,956 a year ago. Overseas sales also declined 2.1 percent to 520,956 from 532,037 during the same period, the data showed.
Hyundai and Kia, the country's two biggest carmakers, reported no significant rebound in sales last month.
Hyundai's sales fell 6.2 percent to 363,045 units last month from 386,885 a year earlier, but sales at its sister company, Kia, inched up 2.1 percent to 228,871 from 224,233 during the same period.
Hyundai, the maker of the Sonata sedan and the Sonata SUV, expects its Palisade SUV, which is now available in U.S. dealerships, to help boost sales in the second half.
Kia, which is 34-percent owned by Hyundai, also expects the Telluride SUV will give a boost to its annual sales, particularly in the U.S. market.
The two, which aim to achieve their sales target of 7.55 million vehicles for this year, sold a combined 4.66 million units from January to August, down 3.4 percent from 4.82 million units in the year-ago period, the data showed.
As sales in China are expected to remain weak for the rest of the year, Hyundai and Kia plan to continue to launch more localized models in efforts to recapture local demand in the world's biggest automobile market.
Renault Samsung and GM Korea racked up increased sales but SsangYong Motor's sales continued to fall last month.
Renault Samsung's sales rose 2 percent to 12,987 units in August, from 12,733 over the cited period. GM Korea's gained 6.1 percent to 24,517 from 23,101 during the cited period. SsangYong's fell 12 percent to 10,015 from 11,349.
From January to August, the five firms' overall sales were down 4.2 percent to 5.15 million from 5.37 million in the same period of last year, the data showed.