Domestic Auto Sales Down Again

Korean carmakers saw domestic sales shrink for the second straight month in March. According to data released on Monday, they sold a combined 118,217 units here, down 1.6 percent on-year.

Hyundai saw faltering sales of all passenger cars except the Equus. But SUV sales rose compared to March last year, especially of the Santa Fe, which were up a whopping 300 percent, leading to an overall increase of 0.1 percent.

Affiliate Kia's sales fell 6.1 percent on-year, though the Morning compact and the new-look K7 bucked the trend. It managed to sell only 520 units of the K9 large sedan.

At GM Korea and Renault Samsung, sales also declined by 4.2 percent and 0.4 percent.

Only SUV-maker Ssangyong posted a good performance with 30.1 percent growth, which puts it ahead of Renault Samsung in fourth place in domestic sales. Sales of the flagship Korando C jumped almost 50 percent on-year while the new Lexton and new Korando Turismo also gained popularity.

An industry insider said domestic carmakers will likely see weak sales throughout the first half of this year as they plan to release new models after the Seoul Motor Show in the second half.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 02, 2013 12:39 KST