Posted February. 05, 2009 08:30,
The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group was the only one among major carmakers to see sales in the U.S. market grow last month.
Most other carmakers suffered a drop of 30 to 40 percent in sales last month in the worlds largest auto market.
Korean experts, however, are urging government support for Korean automakers as major overseas markets are scrambling to assist their own auto industries.
Hyundai America said it sold 24,512 cars last month, up 14.3 percent from December. By model, the Sonata saw sales shoot up 85.5 percent, the Santa Fe 35.2 percent, and the Accent 21 percent from the same month last year.
The luxury sedan Genesis also posted sales of more than 1,000 units last month, its sixth consecutive month of rise since August.
Kia Motors sold 22,096 vehicles in the U.S. market last month, up 3.5 percent from December. As a result, the combined share of the U.S. market of Hyundai and Kia exceeded seven percent for the first time.
In contrast, the annual figure of overall U.S. auto sales for January fell to below 10 million vehicles for the first time since August 1982. General Motors saw vehicle sales plunge 49 percent year-on-year, while Ford, Toyota and Honda also suffered drops between 28 and 40 percent.
Washington has offered financial bailouts for GM, Ford and Chrysler worth tens of billions of dollars since late last year. Thus, other major economies are also scrambling to help their respective auto industries.
The German, Italian and French governments will give subsidies to people who buy new cars to replace vehicles aged nine to 10 years or older. China is also offering a variety of assistance measures, including tax cuts, lower interest on auto loans, and the provision of overseas marketing costs.
Kim Ki-chan, chairman of the Korea Academy of Motor Industry, said, Since the auto industry has a huge impact on employment and other economic factors, countries are racing to support their auto industries by citing causes that enable them to dodge trade disputes.