By Lee Seung-hoon and Cho Jeehyun
South Korea, the world’s sixth largest auto manufacturing nation, logged lower output for the second year in a row last year amid slackening sales at home and abroad.
The country churned out total 4,114,913 cars - excluding those assembled overseas - last year to secure its position as the world’s sixth largest car producer. But its rank looks shaky amid close chase by Mexico, according to a report released by Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association on Monday.
Korea’s automobile yield shrank 2.7 percent compared to a year earlier. Its gap with Mexico, world’s No. 7 car manufacturer, narrowed to 46,498. Mexico produced 4,068,415 cars last year, up 13.0 percent from a year ago.
Korea’s domestic shipment slipped 2.5 percent against 2016 when car sales benefited from tax break for new purchases. Auto exports shrank 3.5 percent due to sluggish sales in the largest two markets - the United States and China.
Sporadic strikes that disrupted production throughout last year also hurt output and made carmakers shift orders to overseas manufacturing bases.
China remained the world’s biggest car producer with its auto output growing 3.2 percent on year to 29,015,400 units last year. The second-largest producer, the U.S. recorded an 8.2 percent dip in auto production last year with output of 11,182,044. Japan and Germany remained unchanged as world’s No. 3 and 4 car producers, respectively, at 9,684,146 units and 6,050,973 units. India ranked fifth largest at 4,779,849 units.
France elbowed out Canada and joined the top 10 for the first time as its output soared to six-year high thanks to Peugeot Citroen Automobiles and Renault’s successful new car launches.