Auto exports in South Korea posted a double-digit decline last year amid soft demand for cars globally, labor strikes at key domestic carmakers and expanded production in overseas factories, a government report showed on Tuesday.
South Korean automakers exported 2.623 million cars in 2016, down 11.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In terms of value, the exports retreated 11.3 percent to 40.6 billion U.S. dollars.
Labor strikes among key local automakers, including top carmaker Hyundai Motor, disrupted production, leading to the export fall. The increased production in overseas factories helped reduce exports by car manufacturers.
Global demand for cars weakened last year amid the economic slowdown across the world. Demand from Africa and the Middle East for South Korean cars tumbled 36.5 percent and 28.4 percent respectively amid low crude oil prices that hit the oil-exporting countries in the regions.
Amid the export reduction, auto production in South Korea stood at 4.229 million units in 2016, down 7.2 percent from a year ago.
Car sales in the domestic market inched down 0.4 percent to 1.825 million units last year. Sales of cars, made by domestic companies, climbed 1.0 percent on the back of temporary cuts in consumption tax for luxury goods.
Imported car sales declined 8.3 percent over the year to 252,000 units in 2016 as German carmaker Volkswagen's emissions-fabricating scandal tarnished brand image of foreign automakers.