New Car Registrations Down as Spending Dries Up

  • By Kim Seung-bum

    March 27, 2017 12:33

    New automobile registrations declined last year as the prolonged economic slump crimped private consumption.

    The Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association said Sunday that in 2016 some 1.82 million cars were newly registered, down 0.6 percent from 2015. It was the first year-on-year drop in new vehicle registrations since 2012 (down 3.4 percent), when soaring global oil prices and a slow economy dented consumer sentiment.

    New automobile registrations rose among those in their 20s and 50s, but declined in all other age groups. The figures for those in their 30s and 40s -- a prime market -- fell 3.2 percent and 2.4 percent.

    New vehicle purchases in this prime market had steadily increased from 277,080 cars in 2013 to 316,300 for 30-somethings and from 269,500 to 330,400 for 40-somethings, but in 2016 they fell to 306,230 and 322,470 respectively.

    A KAMA spokesman said, "Rising household debt, increased spending on private crammers and other factors impacted consumer sentiment, apparently leading to a decline in new car purchases by customers in their 30s and 40s."

    Diesel automobile sales shrank last year, while sales of eco-friendly vehicles grew. Diesel automobiles accounted for 47.9 percent of total new automobile registrations, down from 52.5 percent in 2015, in the wake of an emissions-software-rigging scandal involving Volkswagen.

    The proportion of hybrid vehicles grew from 2.1 percent to 3.4 percent over the same period, while the number of newly registered electric vehicles surged 75.8 percent, surpassing 5,000 for the first time. 

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