Korean carmakers: Global automobile market on revival path, Korean automobile companies’ market share increase to 8%

Korean automobile companies have sold 2,297,000 units in the global market in the first half of this year, closing to the level of 2,303,000 units sold in the first half of 2019. In particular, global market share increased by 0.6 per cent p from 7.4 per cent in in the first half of 2019 to 8.0& in the first half of this year.

According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) on August 19, car sales in the global top seven automobile markets, including the US, China, Europe, India, Mexico, Russia and Brazil, increased 30.6 per cent to 28.57 million units in the first half of last year, showing ‘V-shaped’ rebound. But compared to the 31.04 million units sold in the first half of 2019, it dropped by 8.0 per cent.

By market, India market showed the largest increase of 95.2 per cent year-on-year. It was followed by Russia (38.2 per cent), the US (29.3 per cent), China (27.5 per cent), Europe (27.1 per cent), Brazil (26.3 per cent), and Mexico (18.1 per cent).

Compared to the first half of 2019 before COVID-19, India (1.5 per cent) and Russia (6.0 per cent) showed positive growth rate. The U.S. (1.3 per cent) and China (1.1 per cent) also showed similar level before COVID-19. However, Brazil (24.6 per cent), Europe (23.0 per cent), and Mexico (19.6 per cent) showed relatively slow recovery.

The Indian market showed the fastest recovery due to base effect of a sharp drop in sales caused by lockdown to prevent COVID-19 spread last year. In the US market, sales have been recovered with the economic policy effect and increased vaccination rate. Sales in the Chinese market have been recovered almost same level of sales before COVID-19 with a surge in sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) such as EVs (217.4 per cent).

However, it is analyzed that the European market showed relatively slow recovery due to the resurgence of COVID-19 in European countries and production delays (about 100,000 to 120,000 units) caused by global shortage of semiconductor for automobile.

As global markets have been recovered rapidly, the market share of Asian automobile companies (Korea, China, and Japan) increased from 47.8 per cent last year to 50.6 per cent this year. On the other hand, the combined market share of the US and European companies decreased from 50.1 per cent last year to 46.7 per cent this year.

In the Chinese market, Chinese local brands, including electric vehicle (EV) companies, have grown mainly in domestic markets. The Korean community has recently expanded its market share mainly in the US, European, and Indian markets by strengthening product line-ups to satisfy customers for SUVs and electrification models.

Korean automobile companies’ global market share in the first half of the year has increased rapidly from 7.4 per cent in 2019 to 7.6 per cent in 2020 and 8.0 per cent this year. By country, the US (8.5 per cent in 2020 – 9.7 per cent in 2021), Europe (6.9 per cent – 7.6 per cent), and India (22.9 per cent – 23.3 per cent) showed increase in market share. In the research, Hyundai Motor and Kia’s overseas plants were classified as Korean automakers. On the other hand, GM Korea and Renault Samsung were classified as US and European, respectively.

Mainly in the US market, Japanese automobile companies’ market share also slightly increased. However, the market share has decreased in the European market and Chinese market, which have strong growth of Hybrid Eclectic Vehicle (HEV) models and Eclectic Vehicles (EV).

On the other hand, the US automobile companies have been suffering from global semiconductor shortage. In the US market, the sales growth of the US companies (15.5 per cent) was lower than Koreans (48.1 per cent), European (42.6 per cent), and Japanese (38.4 per cent) companies. European companies have been also expanding their electric vehicle models, but sales growth in China, the largest EV market, stood at 13.7 per cent. It is analyzed that the market share in the Chinese market was taken by the US automaker Tesla and Chinese local brands.

Meanwhile, major countries such as Europe, the US and China have been enhancing regulations on internal combustion vehicles to respond climate change, and also strengthening internalisation of supply chains, infrastructure and subsidies to secure future vehicle industry leadership.

Those major countries have been forcing the conversion to electric vehicles, such as EU’s Fit for 55 and the Biden-Harris administration’s regulations on internal combustion vehicles. Those countries have been also expanding its budget for expanding tax deductions, subsidies, and establishment of electricity and hydrogen charging stations as well as investments in core supply chains of materials such as batteries and semiconductors.

China has continued to promote NEV conversion with the goal of reducing carbon emissions after 2030, and it is also enhancing regulations on vehicle data collection and strengthening control over future car industry.

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