Korean Automakers Now Produce More Cars Abroad Than at Home

  • By Shin Eun-jin

    September 27, 2016 09:42

    The production volume of Korean automakers is now bigger overseas than at home.

    Data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association show that Korean carmakers produced 2.77 million cars in the country from January to August but 2.92 million in their overseas factories.

    The main reason were major strikes at Hyundai compounded by slow exports and lackluster sales in Korea.

    The decreased output at home leads to a vicious cycle of smaller orders for subcontractors, lower factory operating rates, layoffs of assembly line workers and a worsening slump.

    Workers assemble a car on a production line at Hyundai’s plant in St. Petersburg, Russia. /Courtesy of Hyundai Motor

    The car industry, one of the top export pillars, is starting to see the same exodus of production facilities that has happened among mobile phone manufacturers.

    Even until 2009, the domestic plants of Korean automakers accounted for 65 percent of total production. But domestic output peaked at 4.65 million vehicles in 2011 and has been declining ever since.

    Although domestic production recovered slightly in 2013 and 2014, overseas output more than doubled over the past six years.

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