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South Korea: CBU Exports in 2019 Fell by 2% to 2.4 Million Units, 7 Consecutive Years of Decline

South CBUs only in 2019 declined to 2.4 million units. It has decreased for the seventh consecutive year since it peaked at 3.17 million units in 2012. Although the export to North America increased by 8.7% to 1.09 million units due to the increase in Hyundai SUVs, exports to other regions decreased, which resulted in the overall downward.

Hyundai is the only OEM that increased among all (by 4.7% or to 1.04 million units) thanks to the expansion of SUV export to North America. In particular, Kona (the sales unit of 73,000 in the US) and Palisade (that of 29,000 in the US) were the driving forces. The global export volume of Kona increased by 31.2% to 266,000 units, making it South Korea's largest export model in 2019.

As for Kia, the export volume decreased by 1.3% to 0.9 million units. Although SUVs increased by 6.7% to 0.5 million units, passenger cars (PCs) fell by 10.4% to 0.3 million units. The increase was led by Niro (growth by 24.4% to 106,000 units) and Stonic (growth by 41.1% to 83,000 units). Regarding export destinations, while exports to North America and the EU increased, those to Central and South America fell by 21.8%.

The export volume of GM Korea also decreased by 7.7% to 0.3 million units. Like the aforementioned OEMs, its exports to North America increased but those to the EU remarkably reduced by 43.4% to 64,000 units. The largest export model from 2015 to 2018, Trax, was in decline by 12.0% to 211,000 units.

The fourth major OEM, Renault Samsung, showed a significant fall by 34.0% to 91,000 units. This is due to the termination of contract production of Nissan Rogue for North America in September 2019, resulted in a 34.8% reduction of its export volume (70,000 units).

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