Aug. car sales fall 4.5 pct amid chip shortage

September 1, 2021

South Korean carmakers’ sales fell 4.5 percent last month from a year earlier as an extended global chip shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on vehicle production and sales, industry data showed Wednesday.

The country’s five carmakers — Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. — sold a combined 544,992 vehicles in August, down from 570,601 units a year ago, according to data from the companies.

Their domestic sales declined 4.1 percent to 106,247 units from 110,835, while overseas sales dropped 4.6 percent to 438,745 from 459,766 during the same period, the data showed.

These composite photos show the logos of five carmakers in South Korea. (Yonhap)

These composite photos show the logos of five carmakers in South Korea. (Yonhap)

In August, Hyundai’s sales fell 7.6 percent to 294,591 units from 318,700 a year ago, and its overseas sales also declined 7.8 percent to 243,557 from 264,110 during the same period.

Kia’s rose a mere 0.1 percent to 217,204 units from 217,089 as its overseas sales fell 1.4 percent on-year to 176,201.

Steady sales of Hyundai’s Palisade and Tucson SUVs, and Kia’s Sportage and Seltos SUVs allowed the carmakers to report the monthly results.

Hyundai suspended the Asan plant from July 13 until Aug. 6, which affected the production of the Santa Fe SUV and the Sonata sedan.

This year, Hyundai and Kia said they will continue to focus on promoting their new models, including Hyundai’s all-electric IONIQ 5 crossover utility vehicle and Kia’s K8 sedan and all-electric EV6 model, to ride out the pandemic.

They aim to sell a combined 7.08 million vehicles this year, 1.7 percent lower than the 7.2 million units they sold last year.

Three other carmakers also suffered a decline in domestic sales last month due to lack of new models and tougher competition with their bigger rivals.

Increased exports at SsangYong Motor and Renault Samsung did not help drive up their overall results last month. GM Korea was the worst performer in domestic sales and exports.

SsangYong’s domestic sales fell 28 percent on-year to 4,861 autos last month from 6,792, while exports more than doubled to 2,874 from 1,235 during the cited period.

Renault Samsung’s local sales declined 25 percent to 4,604 from 6,104, while exports nearly tripled to 4,242 from 1,466.

But GM Korea’s local sales dropped 20 percent to 4,745 from 5,898, and exports plunged 46 percent to 11,871 from 21,849.

From January to August, the five automakers’ combined sales rose 15 percent to 4.87 million units from 4.22 million in the year-ago period.

Their domestic sales fell 7 percent to 982,863 autos in the first eight months from 1.06 million units in the year-ago period, while overseas sales jumped 23 percent to 3.88 million from 3.17 million.