Domestic sales by South Korea’s five main automakers increased by 15.7% to 128,067 units in September, from 110,662 units a year earlier, according to data released individually by the vehicle manufacturers. The data does not include sales by South Korea’s low-volume commercial vehicle manufacturers, including Tata-Daewoo and Daewoo Bus Corporation, which typically account for less than 2% of the domestic market combined.
The domestic vehicle market, and the domestic economy as a whole, continue to be driven by historically low central bank interest rates of 1.5% – offsetting weak exports.
Home market sales in the first nine months of 2015 rose by 6.2% to 1,116,512 units, from 1,051,384 units in the same period of last year.
Global sales by the country’s ‘big five’ automakers increased by 1.9% to 710,137 units in September, from 696,712 units a year earlier, with weak demand in China and Eastern Europe more than offset by strong demand at home and in key overseas markets such as India and North America. Global sales in the first nine months of 2015 fell by close to 1.6% to 6,422,664 units, however, from 6,524,414 units previously.
South Korean carmakers: domestic/overseas sales by brand, September 2015
Hyundai Motor’s global sales increased by 1.3% to 394,861 units in September, from 389,748 units a year earlier, reflecting a strong improvement in domestic sales while overseas sales increased only slightly despite renewed efforts to step up marketing campaigns in key global markets.
Hyundai is struggling to cope with slowing demand in China and weak currencies across Asia, particularly the Japanese yen. On the upside, sales in the US rose by over 14% to 64,000 units and in India by close to 10% to 56,500 units.
Global sales in the first nine months of the year were down by 2.4% to 3,538,245 units, however, from 3,625,242 units a year earlier.
Hyundai’s domestic sales jumped by 8.7% to 51,954 units in September, from 47,789 units a year earlier, reflecting the recent launch of the new Avante passenger car and strong sales of the Grandeur and Sonata models. Competition from imports remained tough, however, reflecting the 0.6% decline in Hyundai’s cumulative nine month sales to 499,088 units, from 502,006 units a year earlier.
Overseas sales increased by just 0.1% to 342,907 units in September, from 341,959 units a year earlier, resulting in a 2.6% decline to 3,039,986 units over the nine month period from 3,121,822 units previously.
Kia Motors’ global sales fell by 0.8% to 230,130 units in September, from 231,902 units in the same month of last year, reflecting weak sales in key markets such as China and Russia and an overall tough overseas environment due to the strength of the won.
Cumulative global sales over the nine month period were 3.1% lower year-on-year at 2,189,395 units.
Overseas sales fell by over 4.2% year-on-year to 185,120 units in September, while domestic sales jumped by 16.6% to 45,010 units – helped by strong local demand for the Sorento and Sportage models and the recent launch of the K5 passenger car.
GM Korea’s global sales rebounded strongly in September, with deliveries rising by over 6.9% to 51,502 units from 48,161 units a year earlier. This reflects a 24% rise in domestic sales to 16,393 units, driven by strong demand for the Spark mini-car as well as higher sales of the [imported] Impala and Trax models.
Overseas sales were up by just 0.5% at 35,109 units, after sharp declines earlier in the year as its parent company continued its efforts to restructure the Chevrolet global production base in favour of low cost countries. Cumulative global sales over the nine month period were 2.8% lower at 454,811 units, from 467,796 units a year earlier.
Renault-Samsung’s global sales jumped by over 34% to 22,145 units in September, from 16,484 units a year earlier, reflecting a sharp rebound in exports from the previous month. Cumulative nine month global sales rose by over 59% to 162,720 units, from 102,152 units in the previous year.
Domestic sales increased by 10.9% to 6,604 units in September, driven higher mainly by the QM3 SUV model, while exports increased by close to 48% to 15,551 units due to strong overseas demand for the [Nissan] Rogue SUV.
Ssangyong Motor, owned by Mahindra & Mahindra, reported a 10.3% rise in global sales to 11,489 units in September, reflecting a sharp rise in domestic sales which offset very weak exports. Global sales fell 2.2% to 103,874 units in the first nine months of the year.
Domestic sales rose by 59% to 8,106 units, as demand for the Tivoli SUV continued to soar. Exports of assembled vehicles fell by close to 36% to 3,383 units due mainly to sharply lower sales in Russia and eastern Europe.