South Korea’s production of automobiles edged down 0.8% year on year to 954,908 units over January-March, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Wednesday, citing fewer working days and industrial action at one automaker.
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Partial strikes by workers at Renault Samsung Motors for 12 of the 20 working days in March cut the automaker’s production by around 40% in the month, contributing to the overall decline, the ministry said.
Overall production in March totaled 343,327 automobiles, down 5.5% on year, the data showed.
Auto sales fell 3% on year to 413,701 units in Q1, and were down 5.7% on year at 156,927 units in March, the data showed.
Exports rose 2.4% on year to 587,690 units in Q1, and were down 3.3% on year in March. Notably exports of electric and hybrid vehicles surged 26.5% to 55,411 of the total units in Q1, and edged up 0.3% to 19,392 in March.
Electric and hybrid vehicles are seen as a growth segment for South Korean automakers. Hyundai Motor plans to build a dedicated electric vehicle platform by 2020 for its upcoming range of EVs, with about 44 models to be introduced by 2025.
South Korean automakers such as Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors source their cold-rolled automotive steel from local steelmakers such as Hyundai Steel, which produces about 5 million mt/year of the product.
–Clement Choo, firstname.lastname@example.org
–Edited by Wendy Wells, email@example.com