South Korea's automobile sales hit the fresh record high in 2012, topping the 8 million mark, thanks to solid overseas demand for locally-made models, industry data showed Wednesday.
Global auto sales by the nation's five carmakers, including Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and Ssangyong Motor, reached the record high of 8,196,901 vehicles in 2012, up 5.6 percent from a year earlier. The figure breached the 8-million-mark for the first time in the country's history.
Last year's record sales were attributable to improved recognition of local auto brands in overseas markets that offset weak domestic sales.
Domestic auto sales contracted 4.2 percent on-year to 1,403,165 units in 2012 amid the economic slowdown, but overseas sales, including cars exported from South Korean factories and vehicles assembled in overseas plants, expanded 7.9 percent to 6,793,736 units last year.
Global car sales by Hyundai Motor, the country's No. 1 automaker, increased 8.6 percent on-year to 4,401,947 vehicles in 2012. Domestic sales fell 2.3 percent last year, but overseas sales jumped around 11 percent.
Kia Motors saw its global sales grow 7.1 percent in 2012 from a year earlier to 2,720,753 vehicles. Local sales contracted 2.2 percent to 482,060 units, but overseas sales surged 9.4 percent to 2,238,693 units.
Global sales by GM Korea, the South Korean unit of General Motors (GM), came in at 800,639 vehicles in 2012, down 0.9 percent from a year before.
Renault Samsung sold a total of 154,309 units through local sales and exports last year, down 37.5 percent from the prior year, but global sales by Ssangyong Motor increased 6.2 percent on-year to 119,253 units in 2012.