Exports of Korean passenger cars soared in the third quarter as demand for light-weight cars in Europe such as Spain and France increased and unit prices rose. They swelled for two consecutive quarters.
According to the Korea Customs Service (KCS), Korea’s passenger car exports in the third quarter of this year stood at US$9.4 billion, up 30.1% from a year earlier. The export volume increased 20.9% to 622,000 units.
Korea’s exports of passenger cars grew for two consecutive quarters after the second quarter. In the second quarter, exports and export volume grew by 7.2% and 1.4%, respectively, from a year ago.
The strong export performance was attributed to a 241.5% increase in European light vehicle exports backed up by the effects of small new SUV exports. Especially in Spain, exports of small cars increased by 2,116.8% and France by 814.4%.
Exports of large gasoline cars, one of the main export products, also inflated 28.6%, taking the lead in total exports of passenger cars.
In countries, exports grew to the United States (22.5 percent), Australia (71.1 percent), Canada (50.8 percent), Germany (85.3 percent), the United Kingdom (46.3 percent), Russia (54.9 percent) and Spain (146.4 percent). In contrast, exports to Saudi Arabia recorded a decrease (-14.0%).
The average export unit price was US$ 15,111, up 7.6% from a year ago. Especially, export prices of light-weight cars increased by 59.7% from US$6,456 a year ago to US$10,123, which affected a hike in export prices of all passenger cars.
Meanwhile, passenger car imports in the third quarter were US$2.2 billion, up 8.3 percent from a year ago. The volume of imports also gained 14.5% to 70,000 units.
By countries, imports from Germany were the highest in terms of import amounts but declined from a year ago. German passenger car imports fell to 23.8 percent from US$1.2 billion in the third quarter of last year to US$900 million in the third quarter of this year.
However, passenger car imports increased from the United States (8.8 percent), Japan (77.8 percent), Britain (32.0 percent), Austria (729.8 percent), Italy (164.2 percent) and Spain (183.8 percent). The increase in imports is attributed to an increase in demand for environmentally friendly passenger cars and compact cars and the effects of new cars launched by some brands.