South Korea's vehicle exports fell 4.8 percent in September from a year earlier due to production losses caused by strikes at GM Korea Co., the trade ministry said Thursday.
Five passenger and two commercial carmakers in South Korea shipped a combined 171,425 vehicles last month, down from 180,051 a year ago in terms of units, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.
"GM Korea suffered over 15,000 units in production losses (in September) as its union went on strike for higher wages. Demand for commercial vehicles also declined amid an economic slowdown. It drove down overall vehicle exports last month," the statement said.
GM Korea has yet to seal a wage deal with its union, with talks expected to resume early next year under a new union leadership.
In contrast, the value of the seven carmakers' vehicle exports rose 4 percent to US$3.08 billion in September from $2.96 billion a year ago, helped by increased demand for value-added SUVs and environment-friendly vehicles.
The seven automakers are Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors Corp., SsangYong Motor Co., Zyle Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Co. and Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle Co.
The carmakers' domestic sales increased 1 percent on-year to 110,465 autos last month from 111,919, the statement said.
When imported car sales are combined, the country's total domestic vehicle sales climbed 4.1 percent to 133,016 from 131,403 during the same period, it said.
In the January-September period, the seven carmakers exported $31.6 billion worth of vehicles, up 8 percent from $29.2 billion in the year-ago period. Domestic and foreign carmakers sold a combined 1,288,441 units in the local automobile market, down 3.1 percent from 1,366,535 during the cited period. (Yonhap)