South Korea’s exports of automobiles trailed that of Mexico through August this year, the latest data showed Sunday, as overall weak demand from emerging markets and domestic labor strikes hurt output.
Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co. and other manufacturers shipped 1.69 million cars over the January-August period, down 14.4 percent from a year earlier, the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association showed. In contrast, that of Mexico edged down 2.7 percent over the cited period to 1.81 million units.
Accordingly, Mexico emerged as the No. 3 exporter of automobiles through August this year, pushing down South Korea by a notch. It marked the first time that the country’s car exports fell below that of Mexico.
South Korea first emerged as the No. 3 exporter in 2005. But its shipments have been falling since 2012 after reaching its peak at 3.17 million units. The decline is in part due to local carmakers expanding overseas production facilities to better penetrate foreign markets and skirt import duties.
Industry watchers said the overall market conditions coupled with strikes staged by workers at South Korean factories weighed down on local carmakers’ performances.
“The government needs to expand support to tap new markets and beef up capabilities of local carmakers,” an industry insider said.
Over the January-August period, Germany remained as the top car exporter with shipments hitting 2.94 million units, trailed by Japan with 2.92 million units, the data also showed. (Yonhap)