In the fourth quarter of last year, overseas inventory adjustments pulled down passenger car exports in about a year. On the other hand, last year, the rapid growth of exports of environment-friendly cars such as light cars ramped up exports of passenger cars in three years.
Passenger car exports declined 16.2 percent to US$9 billion year on year in the fourth quarter of last year according to the Korea Customs Service on January 31. This is the largest drop since 17.4% in the third quarter of 2016. Exports of passenger cars continued to leap up from the fourth quarter of 2006, but sank in five quarters. The number of exports went down 22.9% year on year to 590,000 units.
Exports by country were in the order of the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Canada. Exports fell to the US (-22.4%) and Saudi Arabia (-18.4%), while those grew to Australia (22.6%) and Germany (7.6%).
Analysis says that inventory adjustments in overseas markets at the end of the year and some Korean auto industry strikes played a role in decreasing exports. Exports of light cars ballooned 130.1% despite the decline in exports. The proportion of exports also rose to 5.9% from 4.4% in the previous quarter.
Passenger car imports in the fourth quarter of last year were US$3 billion, up 41.3 percent from a year ago. By countries, imports from Germany topped the list, followed by those from Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Austria.
Last year, passenger car exports ran to US$38.1 billion, up 4.5 percent from the previous year, switching to growth in three years. The Korea Customs Service analyzed that light cars (91.4 percent) and medium-sized diesel-powered vehicles (21.9 percent) took the initiative in exports.
The effects of some brand new cars and demand for environmentally friendly cars drove up Korea’s foreign car imports to 3.7% year on year to US$9.6 billion.