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Is Australia Emerging as Land of Opportunities for Korean Cars?
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Is Australia Emerging as Land of Opportunities for Korean Cars?
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • October 27, 2017, 10:00
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A street of Sydney, Australia.
A street of Sydney, Australia.


Australia, which became the second-largest export market for Korean cars after the United States this year, has recently changed from an automobile manufacturing country to an automobile importing country with the recent closure of GM Holden and Toyota. Accordingly, a lot of attention is being paid to whether or not Australia will become a new land of opportunities for Korean cars.  

According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) and related industries, the number of Korean cars exported to the Australian market in September shot up 17,4.8% to 19,447 from 7,102 of last September.

The cumulative number of car exports in the first nine months also swelled 6.8 percent from the previous year's 122,762 units to 134,340 this year. Thanks to the increase in exports, Australia emerged as the second largest export market of Korea after the US (653,349), surpassing Canada (124,456) and Saudi Arabia (93,255).

By brand, Hyundai recorded sales of 73,250 units from January to September, ranking third after Toyota (160,245 units) and Mazda (80,963 units).

The increase in Australian exports is attracting more attention because Australia with 90 years of an automobile manufacturing history recently turned to a complete importer of cars as automakers shut down factories because of its high-cost low-efficiency production structure.

GM Holden, GM's local subsidiary, closed down its Elizabeth plant in Adelaide of Australia on October 20 and Toyota shut down its Altona plant near Melbourne. Earlier, Ford dismantled a local plant with a history of 91 years last October.

As the Australian market which was about 1.18 million units last year shifted to a fully imported market, it will be good news for Korean automakers. Toyota and GM Holden, which ranks first and fifth respectively in the Australian market in terms of sales during the first nine months of this year shut down factories so much of the demand is likely to be absorbed by other brands. In fact, sales of cars produced in Australia dwindled 15.2% in 2013 GM Holden and Ford decided to withdraw from down under.