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Auto exports jump 35 pct on eased pandemic jitters

All News 11:00 March 15, 2021

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's exports of automobiles advanced 35 percent on-year in February, data showed Monday, as major trading partners gradually normalized their economic activities amid the virus pandemic.

The country's outbound shipments of automobiles reached 161,886 units in February, compared with 123,022 units posted a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

In terms of value, exports also soared 47 percent to reach US$3.5 billion.

Over the first two months of 2020, the country shipped 353,959 units of automobiles, up 31.8 percent on-year.

The rebound in February also came on a base effect, as the operation of car factories was partially disrupted last year in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Auto exports jump 35 pct on eased pandemic jitters - 1

Industry leader Hyundai Motor Co. saw its overseas sales jump a whopping 40.4 percent in terms of units on the back of the strong sales of the Kona and Palisade SUVs.

Auto exports by Hyundai's smaller sister Kia Motors Corp. also shot up 64.3 percent on robust shipments of electric vehicles, such as the Niro.

Outbound shipments by GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., on the other hand, shed 16.5 percent as its production was partially disturbed by the global shortage of automotive chips.

Financially troubled carmaker SsangYong Motor Co. saw its exports crash 94.3 percent as its subcontractors declined to supply the company with auto components due to payment issues.

Exports by Renault Samsung Motors Corp. edged up 1.8 percent on strong sales of the XM3 SUV in the European market.

By destination, exports to North America increased 33.8 percent, while those to the European Union nearly doubled. Sales to Eastern European nations moved up 49.2 percent.

Shipments to Asian countries advanced 54.2 percent on-year in February, the data showed.

South Korea's combined production of automobiles came to 260,958 units last month, up 37.9 percent on-year. The domestic sales reached 123,317 units, also up 24.2 percent over the period.

Exports of automobiles over the first 10 days of March, meanwhile, continued to gather ground in terms of value, rising 22.8 percent over the period, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service released last week.


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