Global sales for South Korean automakers fall for 3rd straight month

04, Apr. 2019

SEOUL, NNA - South Korea's five largest automakers saw global sales in March drop from a year earlier for the third straight month, hit by slowing demand and the effects of a strike at Renault Samsung Motors.

NNA compiled data released this week by Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Co. and Ssangyong Motor Co.

Key points:

―― Combined global sales of the top five declined 2.5 percent to 701,727 units in March from a year earlier, the third straight year-on-year fall. Domestic sales dipped 0.8 percent to 138,288 units while overseas sales dropped 3.0 percent to 563,439.

―― Hyundai saw sales slip 2.2 percent to 389,160, hit by a 3.4 percent fall in sales overseas. Kia sales were flat at 242,617, supported by a 2.2 percent rise in overseas demand.

―― GM Korea sales rose 4.2 percent to 42,996, buoyed by a 4.5 percent increase in overseas sales.

―― Renault Samsung sales tumbled 49.0 percent to 13,796, hit by a 62.3 percent fall in sales overseas as Renault of France decreased consignment production amid the continuing walkout at its South Korean subsidiary.

―― Ssangyong sales jumped 15.7 percent to 13,158 led by a surge in domestic sales of 18.8 percent.

Takeaway:

―― South Korean consumer spending has been weak, as reflected in sluggish demand for automobiles.

―― Hyundai and Kia have been struggling in China, partly due to objections over the deployment of THHAD missiles in South Korea in 2017. The top two South Korean automakers also need to attract U.S. customers with newer model sport utility vehicles. They are trying to sell more in Russia and Brazil to reduce reliance on the Chinese and U.S. markets.