S. Korea’s auto exports down 7.7 pct in March amid chip shortage

SEOUL-- South Korea's car exports fell 7.7 percent in March due mainly to the continued shortage of automotive chips and supply disruptions of car parts in China amid the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed Friday.

Outbound shipments of automobiles stood at 179,630 units last month, compared with 194,562 units a year earlier, according to the data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

In terms of value, auto exports decreased 9.7 percent on-year to US$3.97 billion last month.

It is the first time since October last year that car exports marked an on-year decline. The decline is attributable to decreased total production of vehicles due to a tight global supply of automotive chips and the delayed distribution of other car parts in China amid the worsening virus situation, according to the ministry.

Domestic production of automobiles went down 9.5 percent on-year to 302,161 units last month.

The halt to the shipment of vehicles to Russia over the Ukraine crisis also affected the exports, it added. Some 4.5 percent of South Korea's total car exports were shipped to Russia in 2021.

Despite the overall decline, the overseas shipment of eco-friendly vehicles soared 45.5 percent on-year to 41,320 units in March on solid global demand. In terms of value, the sales of green cars surged 43.1 percent to $1.17 billion.

Exports of auto parts also inched up 0.03 percent on-year to $2.18 billion last month despite the shortage of automotive chips.

At home, sales of vehicles tumbled 19.1 percent from a year earlier to come to 138,647 units in March.

Sales of locally made automobiles sank 21 percent on-year to 111,065 units, and those of imported cars went down 10.5 percent to 27,582, marking the seventh consecutive month of on-year declines, according to the data.

Eco-friendly cars, however, enjoyed popularity.

A total of 38,784 units of eco-friendly cars were sold in the domestic market last month, up 28.6 percent on-year to hit an all-time monthly high, the data showed.

Source: Yonhap News Agency