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Carmakers' April Sales Rise 7.5% on Demand Recovery

According to Yonhap News,

(SEOUL=Yonhap News) The combined sales of South Korea's five carmakers rose 7.5 percent last month from a year earlier due to recovering demand and popularity of new models, corporate data showed Wednesday.

The five automakers -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. -- sold a combined 703,826 vehicles in April, up from 654,477 units a year earlier, according to their monthly sales data.

Their domestic sales inched up 1.2 percent to 134,197 vehicles last month from 132,675 units a year ago. Overseas sales jumped a solid 9.2 percent to 569,629 from 521,802 during the same period, the data showed.

Robust sales in emerging markets and recovering demand in China bolstered the monthly numbers at Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, the companies said. The two carmakers saw their sales in China remain weak until the first quarter following the diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system, called THAAD, on the Korean Peninsula.

In April, Hyundai's sales rose 11 percent to 391,197 vehicles from 352,219 units a year earlier. Kia's advanced 9.3 percent to 240,028 from 219,580 during the same period.

With protectionism in advanced markets and low global economic growth are expected to remain major hurdles going forward, Hyundai plans to launch the all-new Santa Fe in the United States this summer to boost sales and Kia plans to roll out its new K3 compact in the U.S. later this year.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker, aim to achieve a combined sales target of 7.55 million vehicles for 2018, slightly higher than the 7.25 million units they sold last year.

GM Korea, the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., posted a 22 percent on-year drop in April sales to 38,575 vis-a-vis 49,163 due mainly to weaker domestic demand. Its domestic sales plunged 54 percent to 5,378 from 11,751 during the cited period, with exports down 11 percent to 38,575 from 49,163.

GM plans to shut one of its four car assembly plants in Korea this month as part of global restructuring effort. Total production volumes at GM Korea has fallen dramatically amid weak local sales of its vehicles.

SsangYong Motor, which is owned by Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., reported a 1.3 percent on-year sales decline to 10,930 units last month from 11,071 a year ago on weak local demand.

Renault Samsung's sales, on the other hand, rose 2.9 percent on-year to 23,096 from 22,444 on increased exports of Nissan Motor Corp.'s Rogue SUV, which is assembled in the carmaker's sole Busan plant, 450 kilometers south of Seoul. Renault S.A. owns an 80 percent stake in Renault Samsung.

In the January-April period, the combined sales of the five automakers inched up 0.2 percent to 2.62 million vehicles from 2.61 million a year ago, the latest data showed.

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Source: Yonhap News (May. 02, 2018)

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