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South Korean Auto Sector Rebounds with Economic Recovery
Nov 20, 2009

Automobile sales in South Korea surged in October 2009 with the people rushing to purchase on the back of recovering economy.
Five automobile manufacturers in South Korea reported that the country’s auto sales posted a combined 2.7% year-on-year increase in October 2009, reported Xinhua.
In terms of figures, total auto sales of five South Korean automakers stood at 518,623 Units in October 2009, retaining the growth trend of September 2009 when an annual growth of 43.2% was recorded. Although auto exports came down to 388,431 Units (shrinking 2.9% from October 2008), domestic sales spiked 24% to 130,192 Units.
High domestic demand was the key driver of this growth in South Korea’s auto industry. With the country gradually recovering from the economic turmoil, buyers are rushing to make purchases. Besides this, introduction of new car models lured people and supported the sales increase.
Talking about the performance of carmakers, Hyundai was the best, with its sales increasing 6.9% to 288,618 Units. Hyundai’s affiliate Kia also saw a 7.3% year-on-year increase, hitting the sales figure of 149,591 Units in October 2009.
In the meantime, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co., the local unit of General Motors Co., has disclosed that it recorded sales of 55,314 Units in October 2009, down 24.6% from October 2008 due to declining exports.
Besides, Renault Samsung Motors Co., the local unit of France’s Renault SA, stated that its October sales surged 25.6% on year, to 20,470 Units, due to higher demand in overseas market.
In a bid to become the fourth-largest green carmaker and to improve profits, South Korea is planning to produce electric vehicles on a mass scale for the domestic market by 2011. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy made a plan that would enable the country grab 10% of the global market for zero-emission plug-in cars by 2015. The government firmly believes that the initiatives will definitely help domestic auto industry to give a tough fight to its competitors in neighboring countries.
According to a Research Analyst at RNCOS, “The growth of South Korean automobile industry will certainly be benefited by the production of electric automobiles. Also, considering rising month-on-month sales, the growth trend is expected to continue in the initial months of 2010.”
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