South Korea January car sales rise nearly 6%; labor unrest, forex cloud outlook


South Korean car sales climbed 5.6% on year in January as carmakers attracted customers with better

terms in aggressive marketing efforts, but analysts warned labor unrest and the strong won will likely put

pressure on their performance throughout the year. The country's five automakers - Hyundai Motor Co. ,

Kia Motors, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology, SsangYong Motor Co. and Renault Samsung Motors Corp.

- said Thursday they sold a total of 413,199 vehicles last month, up from 391,220 units a year earlier.

They sold a combined 94,446 units in their home market last month, up 14% from 83,079 units, while their
exports were up 3.4% to 318,753 units from 308,141 units.
"As carmakers didn't sell as many cars as they had hoped for in December, they tried to lure people with
more favorable terms," said Stephen Ahn, an analyst at Woori Investment and Securities. Three automakers
in particular - Kia Motors, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. and SsangYong Motor Co.- bet on
stronger marketing last month to sell more of their new cars.