The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association announced on Dec. 28 that a total of 284,172 cars were imported to Korea during the first 11 months of this year with the total import amount reaching US$8.74288 billion. During the same period, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and Ssangyong Motors exported approximately 595,000 cars – about 420,000 by GM Korea, 134,000 by Renault Samsung Motors and 41,000 by Ssangyong Motors – to record US$7.61417 billion in total exports.
Under the circumstances, this year is expected to become the first year when Korea’s car imports exceed the three automakers’ exports.
The three companies exported vehicles worth US$10.77034 billion in 2013, when the combined value of the cars imported to Korea was US$5.54244 billion. Last year, the difference was reduced to US$1.2414 billion. Between January and November 2015, the latter increased 21.9 percent from a year ago while the former decreased by 8.2 percent.
In the meantime, Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors exported cars worth US$16.6 billion and US$14 billion during the last 11 months, respectively. Although the Hyundai Motor Group’s total exports are still much larger than the imports, the gap is narrowing at a rapid pace. “Next year, the demand for imported cars is likely to increase by at least 20,000 compared to this year, and imports are estimated to reach US$9 billion at the least,” said an industry source, adding, “Meanwhile, Korean automakers are forecast to have a tougher battle abroad, with emerging markets undergoing economic downturns.”