The South Korean government awarded Renault Samsung Motors last week for its contribution to the national economy with its $2 billion in exports this year.
The local unit of French auto firm Renault was the only multinational company among more than 1,000 winners at an event commemorating the 52nd annual Trade Day on Dec. 7 at Coex in southern Seoul.
In contrast with the falling exports of other Korean automakers, Renault Samsung has achieved double-digit growth in exports every month from the same period a year ago throughout the year. In November, the firm’s outbound shipments surged 10.1 percent on-year to 14,867 units. Domestic sales, however, dropped 30 percent to 6,006 units.
The driving force in the firm’s performance in exports was the Nissan sport utility vehicle Rogue. Renault Samsung has produced 100,000 Rogues per year since 2014 at its Busan plant based on a production order from its global headquarters and exported them to North America.
As the growth in exports and domestic sales continue, the company expects to be ranked third in the nation’s auto industry after Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors in 2016, while beating General Motors Korea.
“Behind the success story of Rogue production and exports is the cooperative labor relations,” a company official said.
The union members of the carmaker agreed to introduce a multi-model assembly line to raise productivity three years ago, which enabled the company to secure a production order for exports from the headquarters.
Today, while other carmakers here produce only two or three models per assembly line, Renault’s Busan plant produces six models at each assembly line.
“With the new production system, the production line raised its productivity about 30 percent,” the official said.
Backed by growth in exports, the French automaker vowed to prioritize lifting faltering domestic sales next year.
The company has a plan to introduce new car models next year in different segments, including the Talisman, its new upscale midsize sedan. The company also said the new sedan would be manufactured at its Busan plant.