The Korea Herald

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Korean auto exports hit record $17.5 billion in Q1

By Moon Joon-hyun

Published : April 12, 2024 - 15:11

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Workers inspect an Ioniq 5 electric vehicle on the production line at Hyundai Motor's Ulsan plant. (Hyundai Motor Group) Workers inspect an Ioniq 5 electric vehicle on the production line at Hyundai Motor's Ulsan plant. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Korean automobile exports reached a record $17.5 billion in the first quarter of this year, marking a 2.7 percent increase from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Thursday.

Automobile exports surged to $6.2 billion in March alone, following a slight dip to $5.2 billion the previous month. This boost was largely driven by the robust performance of hybrid vehicles, which did not include plug-in hybrids. Hybrid vehicle exports in March soared to a record $850 million, marking a 37 percent increase from the previous March.

An official from the Ministry of Trade stated, "Hybrid vehicles are expected to continue fueling demand domestically and internationally, providing a steady flow of orders that will support the auto parts sector."

Despite these strong export figures, Korea’s automobile production saw an overall decline. It dropped by 10.8 percent year-over-year to 375,000 units, impacted by fewer working days and disruptions due to the industry's pivot towards electric vehicle manufacturing.

The domestic automobile market also faced challenges, with total sales decreasing by 12 percent to 146,000 units. However, eco-friendly models like hybrids and electric vehicles continued to defy the trend, recording increases of 24 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

March also set a new record for domestic sales of eco-friendly vehicles, which climbed 18.6 percent to reach 61,000 units, surpassing the previous high of 58,000 units set in November last year.