Major automakers in Korea effectively weathered negative factors involving the eurozone fiscal crisis last year, posting robust sales in the overseas market despite a slump at home.
The five companies saw their collective sales climb by 5.65 percent in 2012 to about 8.19 million units, from 7.75 million units a year before.
Hyundai Motor reported year-on-year sales growth of 8.6 percent. Its vehicle sales increased by about 350,000 units to around 4.4 million units ― an all-time high ― in 2012, from 4.05 million units a year earlier.
The nation’s largest carmaker’s sales growth of 10.9 percent in the overseas market offset the 2.3 percent drop at home.
It sold about 3.73 million units in the overseas market including the United States, China and Europe, compared with 3.36 million units in 2011.
Hyundai said in a statement that its sales from factories in China and the Czech Republic grew about 15 percent and 20 percent, respectively.
Predicting continuing difficulties in the business environments at home and abroad, the company said, “We have set a sales target of 4.66 million units this year, up 5.9 percent from 2012.”
Kia Motors reported a 7.1 percent growth in yearly sales ― from 2.53 million units in 2011 to 2.72 million units in 2012.
Overseas shipments led the increase, with about 2.23 million units sold, up 9.4 percent on-year, while domestic sales dipped 2.2 percent to 482,060 units.
Kia’s best-selling model was the Pride subcompact, with 380,064 units sold worldwide last year, followed by the New Sportage R with 373,000 units.
Ssangyong Motor said its 2012 sales increased by 6.8 percent from a year earlier, buoyed by brisk sales of its new models.
The company sold a total of 120,717 vehicles last year, up from 113,001 units in 2011. Domestic sales surged 23.4 percent on-year to 47,700 units as its new Korando C and Korando Sports vehicles posted a 57.2 percent and an 86.7 percent on-year growth in sales, respectively.
GM Korea, which operates several assembly lines in Korea, saw its 2012 sales inch down 0.9 percent from a year earlier. It sold a total of 800,639 vehicles last year, down from 808,309 units sold in 2011.
But the company showed expanded presence in the local market as its domestic sales climbed 3.6 percent on-year to a record high of 145,702 units thanks to its steady-selling models.
Renault Samsung Motors suffered lackluster sales last year, reporting a 37.5 percent fall from 246,959 units in 2011 to 154,309 units in 2012.
But the France-based Renault Group’s Korean unit saw its December sales increase by 11.8 percent from a month before. Its sales rose from 12,441 units in November to 13,909 units in December.
The company is pinning hopes on the flagship line-up ― the New SM5 Platinum and New SM3 ― in terms of revitalizing sales in the local market.
By Kim Yon-se (firstname.lastname@example.org