Auto exports hit record high in Feb. on high demand for eco-friendly cars

South Korea's car exports jumped nearly 50 percent in February on-year to reach an all-time high on the back of solid demand for eco-friendly cars, data showed Monday.

The value of outbound shipments of automobiles came to US$5.59 billion last month, up 47.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

It is the highest monthly figure, with the previous record being set in December last year when exports stood at $5.42 billion.

In terms of volume, exports surged 34.8 percent on-year to 222,934 vehicles, the data showed.

This file photo taken Sept. 16, 2022, shows cars waiting to be shipped at Hyundai Motor Co.'s factory in the city of Ulsan, 307 km southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

By region, car exports to North America surged 65.7 percent to $2.74 billion, and those to the European Union rose 35.3 percent to $855 million. Shipments to Middle Eastern nations also reported a 47.8 percent growth to $502 million, and those to Asia spiked 81.2 percent to $455 million.

Strong demand for eco-friendly vehicles led the overall brisk car sales.

The export value of eco-friendly cars soared 83.4 percent on-year in February to an all-time monthly high of $2.02 billion.

In terms of volume, sales also reached an all-time high of 62,861 units last month, jumping by 61.1 percent on-year.

Of the total, 30,843 units were electric vehicles, and 26,033 were hybrid models, with their sales rising 76.6 percent and 48.8 percent on-year respectively, the data showed.

Eco-friendly cars accounted for 36.1 percent of the country's total car exports in terms of value last month, according to the ministry.

Exports of auto parts also increased 13.3 percent on-year to $2.02 billion last month driven by growing demand from North America and the European Union.

Global sales of cars and auto parts combined came to $7.62 billion last month, surpassing semiconductors as the country's No. 1 export. Chip exports came to $5.96 billion last month among dwindling demand and falling prices.

At home, sales of automobiles rose 19.6 percent on-year to 147,031 units in February, with the number of eco-friendly cars sold here increasing 32.1 percent to about 45,000 units, the data showed.

Domestic production also climbed 30.2 percent on-year to 343,575 units last month thanks to the smooth supply of automotive semiconductors, according to the ministry.

Of major firms, production by Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Corp. grew 27.8 percent and 38.4 percent on-year, respectively. The two carmakers accounted for 86.1 percent of the country's total car production.

South Korea has seen growth in auto production, domestic sales and exports for seven consecutive months through February, according to the ministry.

Source: Yonhap News Agency