24 November 2017

Korea Car Sales By Brand : 2010-14

The top selling model in Korea for 2014, the Hyundai Sonata

In Korea, the top brands (yellow in the chart below) are the main selling brands. Imports have slowly been growing but still are small in comparison, thanks to tariff protection. The data below excludes commercial vehicles which would favour the local car makers if included.

Locally made cars have been relatively static, despite a reasonable increase in total sales. I don't have a breakdown of import sales by model so can only assess the totals seen below. Clearly some brands have done better than others for whatever reason.

10 11 12 13 14 Make 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
1 1 1 1 1 Hyundai 482,261 498,510 505,714 479,435 510,978
2 2 2 2 2 Kia 434,881 436,672 430,757 403,015 406,822
4 3 3 3 3 GM Korea 112,466 127,697 131,794 127,338 147,104
3 4 4 5 4 Samsung 155,697 109,221 59,926 60,027 80,003
5 5 5 4 5 Ssangyong 32,459 38,651 47,700 63,970 69,036
6 6 6 6 6 BMW 16,798 23,293 28,152 33,066 40,174
7 7 7 8 7 Mercedes 16,115 19,534 20,389 24,780 35,213
8 8 8 7 8 VW 10,154 12,436 18,395 25,649 30,719
9 9 9 9 9 Audi 7,920 10,345 15,126 20,044 27,647
12 13 12 11 10 Ford 4,018 4,184 5,126 7,214 8,718
10 10 10 10 11 Toyota 6,629 5,020 10,795 7,438 6,840
17 11 11 12 12 MINI 2,220 4,282 5,927 6,301 6,572
13 12 13 13 13 Lexus 3,857 4,111 4,976 5,425 6,464
16 15 14 15 16 Chrysler 2,638 3,316 4,123 4,143 5,244
20 20 18 16 15 Land Rover 944 1,383 1,916 3,103 4,675
14 18 17 17 16 Nissan 3,524 3,802 2,398 3,061 4,411
11 14 15 14 17 Honda 5,812 3,153 3,944 4,856 3,601
18 16 16 18 18 Peugeot 1,909 2,636 2,407 2,776 3,118
19 19 19 20 19 Volvo 1,638 1,480 1,768 1,960 2,976
15 17 22 22 20 Infiniti 3,118 2,152 1,103 1,116 2,777
23 21 20 19 21 Porsche 705 1,301 1,516 2,041 2,568
22 22 21 21 22 Jaguar 726 1,016 1,197 1,901 1,989
- - - 23 23 Fiat - - - 507 1,163
- 29 25 24 24 Citroën - 6 255 476 620
21 23 24 25 25 Cadillac 794 752 475 300 503
26 26 26 26 26 Bentley 86 102 135 164 322
27 27 28 28 27 Rolls Royce 18 27 27 30 45





Total 1,308,326 1,315,788 1,306,749 1,290,282 1,410,302

Data source: Kaida and Kama.

To see the first in the series, simply click here.

15 November 2017

GM Korean Manufacturing: Down But Not Out (Yet)


When Daewoo divested itself of vehicle manufacturing in 2001, GM moved in and created GMDAT. Passenger car production soon was on the rise and over 900,000 units were made in 2007. However, since 2011, numbers have regularly dropped. It isn't just a GM Korea problem, total Korean car manufacturing has been down slightly. It is that GM Korea has dropped more than average. The ending of the Chevrolet brand in Europe was a big blow.

A new issue has arisen to unsettle GM's Korean workforce and that is GM's selling off its Opel/Vauxhall operation in Europe. For the year 2016, 147,500 cars were produced in GM's Korean plants for GM Europe. PSA is trying to rationalise its plants in Europe and bringing back production to Europe is part of that. More fully utilising European facilities is sensible for PSA.

On the flip side, GM is trying to make GM Korea profitable and this new development won't have helped. Workers at GM Korea's four plants earn wages that are quite high and they are inclined to strike. GM is walking away from business that is losing money, hence the recent departures from Russia, Europe, India, South Africa and Indonesia.

Summary: The question is can GM make its Korean operation a viable part of its company? Four plants (three assembling cars) seems too many. The Gunsan plant is well underutilised - perhaps operating at something like 30% of capacity - and appears will be sold. There is much speculation but the fact is there overcapacity and a need to make GM Korea profitable.

PS. The figures below exclude commercial vehicles which are small in volume anyway. Just passenger cars are shown.


GM Korea PC Production

Year PC (Units) % Tot +/-

2002 272,600 10% -24%

2003 387,800 14% 42%

2004 540,600 17% 39%

2005 632,900 19% 17%

2006 757,200 22% 20%

2007 940,500 25% 24%

2008 794,200 23% -16%

2009 521,400 17% 1%

2010 757,900 19% 40%

2011 795,400 19% 9%

2012 768,400 18% -3%

2013 757,700 18% -1%

2014 623,000 15% -18%

2015 601,000 15% -4%

2016 569,400 15% -5%