South Korea’s domestic car sales up in April but exports continue slide

South Korea’s automakers produced 386,446 vehicles in April, down 2.5% from the same period last year, according to the latest data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Assn (Kama).

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The decline was due to reduced work hours after the introduction of two consecutive daytime work shifts at local automotive assembly plants since March as well as lower export orders, Kama said in a report on Wednesday, May 15.

The shifts were the result of labour-management negotiations last year to eliminate graveyard shifts.

The April figures took production for the first four months of the year to 1,500,490 units, down 4.5% on the year.

Domestic sales in April were up 1% year-on-year at 119,618 units, despite an overall stagnation of the economy and contracted auto demand by households.

The gain was due partly to the debut of new models – the Kia Carens and Ssangyong’s Korando Turismo – in the market, Kama said.

For the first four months of the year, domestic sales totalled 443,203 units, down 1.5% from the corresponding period last year.

Exports in April totalled 261,501 units, down 5.6% year-on-year. This was attributed to the continued depression of the European Union market, the strong Won over the weak Japanese yen and supply shortage.

Exports for the first four months of the year totalled 1,041,685 units, down 7.9% from the same period last year.

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