Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Korean automakers hit five-million mark

Apparently it's easier to clone cars than people. AP reports that worldwide vehicle sales for South Korea's five automakers (Hyundai, Kia, GM Daewoo, Ssangyong, and Renault Samsung) rose to 5.22 million vehicles last year.

This is a 15.6 percent increase over the 4.52 million in 2004 (both figures include sales of vehicles manufactured at overseas plants).

This is on the strength of increasing exports (which rose 19.1 percent to 4.09 million vehicles) and somewhat strong growth of domestic sales (which rose a modest 4.3 percent to 1.13 million, the first year-on-year gain in three years).

The domestic recovery comes after consumer buying went down sharply after rollbacks in Korea's formerly free-wheeling credit industry. Experts expect strong numbers this year, too.


[photo: Though young women at auto shows, like these four in South Africa, no doubt helped boost sales of Korean vehicles worldwide, they don't actually come with the car.]

Hyundai sales were up 11 percent to 2.53 million vehicles. Kia, now a Hyundai affiliate, was up 13.9 percent to 1.27 vehicles. GM Daewoo, the South Korean unit of General Motors, was up a whopping 28.6 percent to rival Kia with sales of 1.16 million vehicles.

Small-fries Ssangyong and Samsung had numbers so low they don't warrant space on my blog. Follow the link for their numbers.
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9 comments:

  1. A few months ago, I bought my first Hyundai, an Elantra. I was lured by the price and the 10-yr warranty. I think the warranty is a big seller here in North America; plus, the Elantra and the Sonata have gotten decent reviews. As a native Michiganian with many relatives who worked at Oldmobile, I was reluctant to buy a foreign car, especially a Korean one given Korea's nationalistic domestic car market. In the end, pragmatics won out over state pride.

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  2. I was reluctant to buy a foreign car, especially a Korean one given Korea's nationalistic domestic car market.

    Free trade advocates in Korea have won out over car companies beating the drum of nationalism to justify protectionism.

    BMWs, Volkswagens, Hondas, and Volvos are much more common on Seoul streets nowadays. American and French brands, though, not so much.

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  3. The new Sonatas are indeed decent vehicles. I would have no problem with one of those, my aunt has one and loves it.
    I've driven rental Hyundai's here (I think it was a TB -- some mini-minivan hatchback thing) that wasn't a bad vehicle either, although it was the most uncomfortable thing to drive ever. But the construction quality is just fine.
    As for other Korean car manufactures -- well, Hyundai is doing great at least! I've always been an American car guy myself too; I've had two Lincoln Town Cars. But the market in North America is defiantly changing, and smaller cars are were things are going. American companies are starting to catch on, but they're too late. Hyundai is picking up whomever didn't want to buy a Honda. I remember when I was in High School and Kia first started in America. The joke amoungst my friends was, "A Korean car? Do they even have roads in Korea?" Times are changing.

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  4. I wrote:
    BMWs, Volkswagens, Hondas, and Volvos are much more common on Seoul streets nowadays.

    Speaking of which, go here if you haven't already.

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  5. The joke amoungst my friends was, "A Korean car? Do they even have roads in Korea?" Times are changing.

    The times are changing? You mean you hang around with less ignorant friends? ;)

    Anyway, your statement there embodies one major, major, major reason why so many Koreans act like over-achievers on a sugar high when it comes to Korea-related achievements. They are tired of being seen as the country of M*A*S*H some fifty years later.

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  6. The times are changing? You mean you hang around with less ignorant friends? ;)
    HAHA. well, to be honest, I got in a big fight with those douche bags last time I was back in the states and haven't talked to them since.. so maybe you're right :)

    holy christ this word verification game sucks. they gave me a tough one this time.. may take me a few tries..

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  7. hehe, brand new owner of a 06' Hyundai Sonata V6 GLS with the premium package. I would have gone with the LX but spending nearly $2000 U.S. dollars more for leather seats and heat seaters would have been a waste in Florida. Argh, I could have also done without the defrosters.

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  8. I think Korean cars will continue to do better and better. I bought a brand new Samsung SM5 back in 2002 and to this day, not one single problem. Not a one, which to me, is amazing.

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