Korean Car Export Amount Hits New Peak at US$48.7 Bil.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (Minister Yoon Sang-jick) has announced that based on the preliminary estimates, production of cars decreased by 0.9%, and exports and domestic sales decreased by 2.7% and 0.3%, respectively, in 2013.
The production volume was 4,521,638 units in 2013, a year-on-year decrease of 0.9% and a second consecutive year of declining production, due to major manufacturers’ closing on weekends and partial strikes, which have caused a production loss of 200,000 units, coupled with poor sales.
The export volume for 2013 was 3,086,394 units, a year-on-year decrease of 2.7%, and recorded a decline for the first time in four years since 2009 due to the high won and low yen trend, expanded global uncertainties and supply problems of major manufacturers. Nevertheless, the export amount of finished cars (based on MTI 741) reached a record-high level of USD 48.7 billion with a year-on-year increase of 3.1%, thanks to growth in the market share of large passenger vehicles and RVs.
By region, exports of Korean cars were robust in the US market, which has shown a stable economic recovery, and grew in the EU and in Asia, reflecting the economic growth. However, exports declined in Latin America and Eastern Europe due to expanding local production. In China, which accounts for half of all exports to Asia, exports grew by 13.2%, prompted by growing demand caused by the urbanization of inland regions.
By vehicle type, light vehicles with high fuel efficiency thrived due to global economic uncertainties, while large vehicles grew thanks to an improvement in the brand image of Korean cars. SUVs and CDVs have also recorded growth as global demand has grown. Mid-sized and small-sized vehicles decreased as Japanese manufacturers recovered their competitiveness and adopted an aggressive sales promotion strategy, making the most of the low yen.
2013 domestic sales was 1,537,590 units, showing a slight year-on-year decrease of 0.3% and a second consecutive year of decline, due to delays in the economic recovery and advance demands in the 4th quarter of 2012 prompted by individual consumption tax cuts. Despite the launch of popular new SUVs and CDVs, the growing demand for light commercial vehicles and active marketing from the industry, mid-sized, light and small-sized vehicles have seen a decline due to the overall market demand decline and the aging of key models.
Sales of imported cars was 156,497 units with year-on-year growth of 19.6% as diverse new vehicles with a focus on the below-2,000cc class were launched and demand among consumers in their 20s and 30s grew. Over 10,000 units were sold monthly throughout the year.
Meanwhile, the domestic automobile market increased production by 4.3%, exports by 4.5% and domestic sales by △6.9% in December 2013, compared to the same month in the previous year.