Seoul, Feb 10 (IANS) South Korea’s automobile exports suffered the most severe decline in more than six years in the first month of 2016, triggering worries about the export-driven economy, a government report showed on Wednesday.
Auto exports tumbled 18.8 percent from a year earlier to reach 201,967 units in January, posting the fastest monthly decline since October 2009, Xinhua quoted the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as saying.
The auto exports continued to grow from August last year, ending the growth trend in January. Weak car demand contributed to a fall in overall exports, which declined 18.5 percent in January from a year earlier.
Car exports by the country’s biggest automaker Hyundai Motor plunged 23.2 percent from a year earlier to 72,562 units in January, with those for its affiliate Kia Motors dropping 26.7 percent last month.
Shipment by GM Korea increased two percent to 39,267 units due to demand for new models.
Domestic car sales shrank 6.8 percent to 123,379 units in January, marking the first reduction in 11 months. Home-made car sales slid 5.2 percent, with imported car sales dipping 14.7 percent.
Weak domestic demand for cars was attributable to the end of consumption tax cut in December last year. The South Korean government announced a plan to extend the tax cut to the end of June.