This file photo, taken April 1, 2021, shows cars produced by Hyundai Motor Co. to be shipped for export on a dock in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)
South Korea's exports of autos rose to the highest point in seven years last year due to the low base effect and strong demand for eco-friendly cars, customs data showed Thursday.
The country's outbound shipments of cars came to $42.6 billion last year, up 23 percent from the previous year, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.
It marked the largest amount since 2014, when auto exports were valued at $44 billion.
The brisk exports came even as Korean automakers suffered a global shortage of auto chips.
The 2021 gain was mainly attributed to the base effect as shipments of autos were severely dented in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Exports of eco-friendly autos, including hybrid models and electric cars, remained solid and demand in the United States and Europe revived amid the economic recovery, according to the customs office.
Autos accounted for some 7 percent of South Korea's exports.
In the fourth quarter, auto exports gained 4.3 percent on-year to $11.2 billion.
Last year, overseas shipments of eco-friendly autos jumped 63.1 percent on-year to a record high of $11.6 billon.
By country, auto exports to the US rose 8.8 percent on-year to $17.1 billion and those to Canada gained 9.2 percent to $3.03 billion. Vehicle exports jumped 71.2 percent on-year to $2.53 billion.
The South Korean economy grew 4 percent last year, the fastest growth in 11 years, on the back of robust exports of chips and autos.
For all of 2021, exports, which account for half of the economy, gained 25.8 percent on-year to hit a record high of $644.5 billion. (Yonhap)