S. Korea’s auto exports rise 25 pct in Jan. on EV popularity

SEOUL, South Korea's car exports advanced nearly 25 percent in January, driven by solid demand for electric vehicles and other eco-friendly cars, data showed Wednesday. The combined value of car exports reached US$6.21 billion last month, up 24.7 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. It was the highest figure for any January ever, beating the previous record of $4.9 billion set in January 2023, the ministry said. In terms of volume, car exports went up 23.5 percent to 245,255 units last month, the highest since January 2015. Rising auto exports were attributable to strong global demand for eco-friendly vehicles. The export value of eco-friendly cars gained 15.9 percent on-year to $2.08 billion in February. A total of 62,237 units of eco-friendly vehicles were sold overseas last month, logging a 12.2 percent on-year increase. By type, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) increased 18.1 percent to 31,350 units, and those of hybrid models advanced 12.5 percen t to 26,513 units. North America was the No. 1 export destination for South Korean cars last month, with sales soaring 53.9 percent on-year to $3.67 billion. Shipments to the European Union, however, lost 14.2 percent to $692 million, while those to non-EU European nations climbed 21.7 percent to $456 million. Exports to Asian nations increased 18.2 percent to $433 million, but those to the Middle East fell 17.2 percent to $384 million. General Motors Korea's Chevrolet Trax was the top selling model in the overseas market among all South Korean models in February, followed by Hyundai Motor Co.'s Avante and KONA. Domestic production rose 16.9 percent on-year to 358,423 units in February on the smooth supply of automotive semiconductors. Car sales at home, however, inched down 0.4 percent to 116,152 units last month, as sales of foreign brands tumbled 18.8 percent on-year to 13,095 units combined. "The government is working to ease regulations on eco-friendly mobility to promote investment and invigorate corporate activities. A new law on components for future vehicles will come into force in July, which is expected to support the auto part industry," a ministry official said. Source: Yonhap News Agency