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Auto exports down for 7th month on virus-hit disruptions

All News 11:00 March 13, 2020

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, March 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's automobile exports sank 25 percent in February from a year earlier to extend their on-year drop to the seventh month in a row as the operation of local car factories was partially disrupted amid the global outbreak of the new coronavirus, data showed Friday.

South Korean carmakers shipped 123,022 units of cars overseas last month, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

In terms of value, auto exports also moved down 16.6 percent over the period to US$2.4 billion.

In the first two months of 2020, South Korea shipped 271,568 units of cars, down 27.4 percent from a year earlier.

Auto exports down for 7th month on virus-hit disruptions - 1

The country's outbound shipments of cars have been on a decline since August.

South Korea's exports of cars especially lost ground last month as local carmakers were forced to shut down their production lines for up to 10 days as they were not able to secure sufficient auto parts from China amid the epidemic.

Hyundai Motor Co., the nation's No. 1 automaker, saw its overall exports fall 21.4 percent on-year despite its increased shipments of SUVs after closing down its factories for 10.6 days.

Outbound shipments by Hyundai's smaller sister affiliate Kia Motors Corp. also dropped 30.1 percent from a year earlier after a nine-day suspension.

Exports by SsangYong Motor Co., on the other hand, edged up 7.3 percent amid the increased shipments of the Korando SUV.

By destinations, exports to North America moved up 10.6 percent on-year in February, while shipments to the European Union tumbled 38.7 percent. Sales to Asian countries decreased 23.1 percent over the period, the data added.

South Korea's combined auto production fell 26.4 percent on-year to reach 189,235 units in February, while domestic sales decreased 18.8 percent to 97,897 units as the consumers' sentiment was hurt by the COVID-19 outbreak.


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