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Auto exports sink over 20 pct on pandemic in 2020

All News 11:00 January 14, 2021

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's auto exports sank 21.4 percent on-year in 2020 as the new coronavirus pandemic disrupted global supply chains and sapped demand, data showed on Thursday.

The country's shipments of cars reached 1.89 million units last year, compared with 2.4 million units posted in 2019, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

In terms of value, exports also moved down 13 percent to reach $37.4 billion.

The number of cars shipped surrendered 33.9 percent on-year over the first half of last year, but the decline eased to just 8.1 percent over the July-December period, the data also showed.

Auto exports sink over 20 pct on pandemic in 2020 - 1

SUVs took up 71.8 percent of the total exports, rising from 59.2 percent tallied in 2018.

Domestic sales, on the other hand, advanced 5.8 percent on-year to reach 1.89 million units last year on the release of new models coupled with the government's tax cuts aimed at revitalizing domestic consumption.

In December, South Korea's auto exports decreased 14.6 percent on-year to reach 174,904 amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases around the globe.

By destination, exports to North America shed 3.1 percent, while those to the European Union decreased 15.3 percent. Sales to Asian nations, on the other hand, rose 8.1 percent.

Industry leader Hyundai Motor Co. saw its overseas sales drop 22.2 percent on-year for the month due to the weak global demand for cars.

Hyundai's smaller sister Kia Motors Corp. saw its exports fall 14.5 percent due to strikes.

Outbound shipments by GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., shot up 26.5 percent last month as its production was normalized after it reached a wage agreement with workers.

Exports of SsangYong Motor Co. fell 10.1 percent as it faced troubles in securing auto parts from subcontractors amid its management crisis.

In 2020, South Korea produced 3.51 million units of cars, down 11.2 percent from the previous year amid the virus pandemic.

colin@yna.co.kr
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