ROK Carmakers Grab 6 Pct.of US Car Market

07-23-2002, 04:02 PM
If the Korean manufaturers can keep up in quality (:o), they stand a good chance of steadily increasing their North American presence. Like the article says, cheap cars sell well in a slow economy...from The Korea Times (; By Kim Ki-tae; 2002/07/23 17:32
ROK Carmakers Grab 6 Pct.of US Car Market

The Korean automakers captured more than 6 percent of the U.S. passenger car market for the first time during the first half of the year.

The carmakers commanded six percent of the world’s biggest passenger car market by selling 254,000 units. It is a rise from 5.5 percent or 248,000 cars one year ago.

In the sport utility vehicle (SUV), minivan and pickup car market, South Korea’s biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor ranked 11th in terms of sales, up two notches from 13th last year out of 41 brands operating in the market. Kia Motors climbed up the ladder from 21st to 18th.

Hyundai sold 190,109 units for the six months with a record monthly sale of 37,007 units. The sales figures between January and June are 15.5 percent higher than the corresponding period last year, placing the automaker at 11th, well ahead of Buick and Volkswagen.

When American automakers such as Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Chrysler and Jeep are excluded, Hyundai is the fourth biggest foreign player following Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

Its market share also rose to 2.3 percent from 1.9 percent last year, and in terms of passenger car sales, the share increased from 3.1 percent to 3.6 percent.

Even better for Hyundai, its vehicles with higher profit margins sold better than ever. The sales of SUV model Santa Fe surged by 62.1 percent and that of EF Sonata jumped 30.5 percent.

Hyundai’s sibling company Kia Motors also chalked up reputable sales of 121,215 units for the six months, up 19.3 percent from the 101,633 cars for the same period a year prior.

It expanded its share to 1.4 percent of the U.S. market from 1.2 percent during the period. Kia’s 18th ranking in sales, is better than that of BMW and Lexus.

Its exports are growing in profitability as its SUV models led the sales increase. Kia’s SUV sales soared 49.5 percent while sedan sales rose by 9.2 percent.

The automakers’ joy ride in the U.S. market has pushed up South Korea’s market share from 3.4 percent or 297,000 units for the first half of last year to 3.9 percent or 331,000 cars this year.

"Domestic carmakers have increased sales by some annual 20 percent so far in the world’s biggest auto market, but the depreciation of the U.S. dollar and the unstable U.S. economy will depress the growth rate to somewhere around 10 percent," said Kim Jun-kyu at the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Hyundai Motor painted rosier pictures in the prospect, saying "The sluggish economy in the U.S. could be a good opportunity for South Korean automakers as we have price competitiveness."

"We will focus on sales of more expensive models such as EF Sonata, Grandeur XG and Santa Fe for higher profitability and market share," according to an official at Hyundai.

07-27-2002, 03:48 AM
Wow, that was definitely the most boring article i've read in the news desk by far. These Korean manufacturers are really starting to climb the ladder. I can't see myself buying one in the near future, but who knows, maybe in 15 years everyone will be buying Korean. Stranger things have happened.

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