The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on March 16 that Korea’s automobile industry in February increased in exports and production, while domestic sales sank compared to the same period of previous year.
Total auto output in February rose 1.2 percent to 263,959 units. Despite prolonged automotive semiconductor shortages, efforts on part of finished carmakers and completion of production facilities have driven production, domestic sales and exports to recover pre-COVID performance. Base effect from previous year and manufacturers’ production schedule changes also contributed to higher number of units year-on-year.
Domestic sales of Korean brand automobiles climbed 2.3 percent to 103,097 units, but imported models plunged by 12.1 percent, finishing at 122,929 units with an overall 0.3 percent sag. Imported cars are recording a six-month straight decline since September of last year, selling 19,832 units in February.
Outbound shipments of Korean automobiles surged 5.1 percent to 167,682 units, and export value jumped 9.1 percent to USD 3.8 billion even with the same number of operation days (17) as previous year. The growth is assessed to be a result of the addition of new facilities’ production capacity.
The biggest driver of export value increase was eco-friendly cars, which outranked all past February figures in both units and value, posting a highest-ever average daily export value of $230 million. EV models like Ionic 5 and EV6 garnered positive reviews abroad, and premium unit price models like Genesis also shot up in demand overseas, expanding the share of high value-added automobiles.
Eco-friendly cars hit historic highs as domestic sales leaped 52.9 percent to 30,951 units, and exports in units and value soared 51.9 percent and 66.3 percent, respectively, each reaching 39,256 units and $1.2 billion. Domestic green car sales took up 25.2 percent of the entire domestic auto sales, meaning 1 out of every 4 cars is green. Domestic brands in particular saw a steeper increase of 65.9 percent to 23,804 units compared to imported models, which climbed 21.4 percent to 7,147 units.
For auto parts, exports in February suffered a minor slide of 1.1 percent down to $1.8 billion due to auto chip shortage and overseas production delays. Shipments to the GCC (up 0.1 percent) and Oceania (up 6.7 percent) increased, whereas those bound for North America (down 2.4 percent), the EU (down 37.7 percent), Latin America (down 7.3 percent), and Africa (down 6.7 percent) dropped.
Source: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy