Apparently it's easier to clone cars than people. AP reports that worldwide vehicle sales for South Korea's five automakers (Hyundai, Kia, GM Daewoo, Ssangyong, and Renault Samsung) rose to 5.22 million vehicles last year.
This is a 15.6 percent increase over the 4.52 million in 2004 (both figures include sales of vehicles manufactured at overseas plants).
This is on the strength of increasing exports (which rose 19.1 percent to 4.09 million vehicles) and somewhat strong growth of domestic sales (which rose a modest 4.3 percent to 1.13 million, the first year-on-year gain in three years).
The domestic recovery comes after consumer buying went down sharply after rollbacks in Korea's formerly free-wheeling credit industry. Experts expect strong numbers this year, too.
[photo: Though young women at auto shows, like these four in South Africa, no doubt helped boost sales of Korean vehicles worldwide, they don't actually come with the car.]
Hyundai sales were up 11 percent to 2.53 million vehicles. Kia, now a Hyundai affiliate, was up 13.9 percent to 1.27 vehicles. GM Daewoo, the South Korean unit of General Motors, was up a whopping 28.6 percent to rival Kia with sales of 1.16 million vehicles.
Small-fries Ssangyong and Samsung had numbers so low they don't warrant space on my blog. Follow the link for their numbers.
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