Automobile exports from South Korea fell 6.8% year on year in the first seven months of this year, led by a 18.3% plunge in exports to the United States, the largest market for Korean automakers.
According to the Korea International Trade Association on October 7, car exports from South Korea have slowed down since 2011. The growth rate of vehicle exports has fallen behind that of Korea’s total exports since 2016.
From January to July this year, South Korea’s total exports increased 6.3 percent year on year, whereas automobile exports fell 6.8%. Meanwhile, since 2011, South Korea’s automobile imports have continued to increase with the only exception of 2016. Vehicle imports jumped 25.5% from January to July. Under the circumstances, South Korea’s surplus in car trade has continued to decline since 2014.
South Korean cars are losing their popularity in both the United States and China. For instance, their share in the U.S. market fell from 8.9% to 7.3% between 2011 and 2017. In China, the share decreased from 7.5% to 4.0% between 2014 and 2017. In the global car market, their share fell from 5.6% to 4.6% between 2013 and 2016 and South Korea’s ranking in the market fell from fifth to eighth during the same period. The future is gloomy with the Donald Trump administration planning to impose an import duty of about 10% on South Korean cars.