Korea's Automobile Sales Down at Home; Up Abroad in '12
Sale of Korean automakers in 2012 slightly decreased in the domestic market as a result of reduced production due to a shrinkage of consumption sentiment and delayed settlement of wage and CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) negotiations.
In contrast, exports increased slightly, recording 3,169,689 units in 2012 compared with 3,51,708 in 2011.
This year, domestic automobile demand is seen to remain bearish, staying in the neighborhood of 1.4 million units, while exports are expected to rise to 3.3 million units, a 3.1% increase over last year.
According to the 'Automobile Industry Trends in 2012' announced on January 10 by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE), automobile production and domestic demand totaled 4,558,160 units and 1,541,715 units, respectively, down 2.1% and 2.4% year-on-year.
The ministry analyzed that domestic demand slowdown and occurrence of partial strikes caused by unrest in labor-management relationships had affected a delay in supply and led to the production decrease in 2012.
In fact, production in the 3rd quarter of 2012 fell to 935,520 units, down 13.9% from 1,205,440 units in the 2nd quarter, serving as a key factor in the annual total production contraction. Domestic sales were converted into a declining trend in four years since 2008 due to consumption sentiment shrinkage following the high oil prices and household debt increase amid domestic economic depression.
Despite export decreases to certain regions, including the EU, however, however, exports increased 0.4% to 3,165,689 units centering on the United States and emerging countries and maintained the previous year's level. Exports to the U.S. market, notwithstanding the fiscal cliff threat in the country, increased 18.4% owing to a steady recovery of demand for automobiles and enhanced quality competitiveness of Korean cars.
In December last year, meanwhile, production and exports of the Korean automobile industry decreased year-on-year, while domestic sales increased. Exports fell 10.3% to 270,336 units due to a decrease in the supply volume responding to the volume for domestic demand, etc