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Slowdown signs - South Korean April auto sales drop by 16%

<font face="Arial,sans-serif" size="2">South Korean automakers reported a 16% YoY drop in April 2009 sales as the global economic crisis reduced overseas demand and local car buyers waited for tax cuts on car purchases. On month sales, however, rose for the third consecutive month in April, suggesting that sales may have hit bottom and will begin to rebound down the road.</font>

<font face="Arial,sans-serif" size="2">Hyundai Motor Co and four other automakers sold a combined 418,506 vehicles in April 2009, down by 15.9% YoY. Exports dropped by 15.4% YoY to 324,670 units with domestic sales declining 14.8% YoY to 93,836 units.</font>

<font face="Arial,sans-serif" size="2">Compared with a month earlier, overall sales rose by 3.6% YoY in April. Overseas shipments increased 5.3% YoY, but domestic sales fell 1.1% YoY. In a move aimed at further bolstering sales, the government plans to offer a 70% reduction starting this month in both purchase and registration taxes for consumers who buy a new car to replace an older one.</font>

<font face="Arial,sans-serif" size="2">By company, Hyundai Motor saw its vehicle sales fall 7.5% YoY to 233,342 units. In the first four months of 2009, Hyundai's sales dropped by 11.8% YoY to 860,579 units.</font>

<font face="Arial,sans-serif" size="2">Kia Motors' sales declined by 6.8% YoY to 117,530 units in April, with domestic sales rising 5.8% YoY to 29,010 units, while exports declined by 10.3% YoY to 88,520 units. Kia's total sales in the January to April 2009 period reached 399,200 units, down by 14.5% YoY.</font>

<font face="Arial,sans-serif" size="2">GM Daewoo Auto &amp; Technology Co said that its sales plunged 46% YoY to 43,655 units. In the first four months of the year, the carmaker's sales dropped 44.5% YoY to 178,728 units.</font>

Renault Samsung Motor Co also suffered a 38.3% YoY plunge in sales for April. The company sold 10,515 vehicles in April. Ssangyong Motor Co, which entered court receivership in February under a weight of debt and record losses, said sales plunged 58% YoY to 3,464 units.

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