The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association said that South Korea produced 4.02 million automobiles last year, a fall of 2.1 percent from the previous year.
China topped the list in production terms, followed by the US, Japan, Germany, India and Mexico, in that order. South Korea, at No. 8, was followed by Brazil, Spain and France.
China’s 4.2 percent fall in automobile production last year was the country’s first slip in production in 28 years, but it continues to hold the lead.
South Korea’s automobile production has fallen since 2015, when it recorded production of 4.55 million automobiles. In 2016 that number declined to 4.22 million automobiles, then marked 4.11 million in 2017.
The association cited reduced competitiveness of Korean automakers as a leading factor, including continued confrontations between the companies and their labor unions.
Following an official shutdown of General Motors’ Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, car assembly plant in May last year as part of their restructuring plan, GM suffered from suspension of car production and weak domestic sales and exports, the association added.
Industry insiders have predicted that Korea’s automobile production will continue to fall, breaching under 4 million automobiles this year due to sluggish automobile market globally.
“To restore South Korea’s competitiveness in the automobile production industry, the government needs to come up with supportive policies so the automakers can form cooperative ties with their labor unions and also revise regulations that deal with emissions and fuel efficiency here,” said Chung Man-ki, head of the association.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)