S Korea June Car Sales up 4.1%; Outlook for 2nd Half Uncertain
07/02/2012| 04:24am US/Eastern
By Kyong-Ae Choi
SEOUL--South Korea's June car sales rose 4.1% from a year earlier, helped by strong overseas demand for Korea-made cars that offset softness in the domestic market.
Hyundai Motor Co. (005380.SE), Kia Motors Corp. (000270.SE), GM Korea, SsangYong Motor Co. (003620.SE) and Renault Samsung Motors sold a total 707,717 vehicles last month, up from 679,988 units a year earlier, according to data released by the companies.
Combined exports rose 5.8% on year to 584,314 units in June, while domestic sales fell 3.5% to 123,403 units.
Strong exports at South Korea's largest auto group contributed to the overall rise in June sales. Hyundai said overseas sales jumped 7.0% to 315,116 autos and Kia's soared 8.0% to 190,206. In the domestic market, Hyundai sales inched up 0.1% to 59,711 autos but Kia's fell slightly, down 0.2% to 42,111.
While automakers have said they will continue to rely on robust overseas demand to offset a slowdown in local sales, analysts cautioned that eurozone debt problems are far from unresolved and that demand for consumer durable goods, like cars, from Europe may falter.
Global car sales growth is expected to fall to 4% in the second half from an estimated 7% in the first half, said Jeff Lee at NH Securities.
Renault Samsung showed the biggest decline in sales, owing to a lack of new models. Local sales skidded 58% to 4,008 units and exports fell 43% to 8,504 units.
GM Korea suffered a 1.6% decline in local sales but saw its exports rise 9.1%, bringing its total sales to 78,023 units last month. SsangYong's local sales jumped 45% and exports fell 21%, with total sales down 3.1% at 10,038 units.
In the January-June period, combined sales climbed 8.9% to 4,125,020 units, backed by a 12% on-year rise in exports.
Write to Kyong-Ae Choi at firstname.lastname@example.org