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S.Korea's car exports tumble in Q1 amid surging imports


SEOUL, (Xinhua) -- Auto exports by South Korean carmakers tumbled in the first quarter amid a surge in foreign luxury car imports, customs data showed Wednesday.

The country's car exports amounted to 10.2 billion U.S. dollars, or 720,000 vehicles, in the first quarter, down 10.1 percent from a year earlier, according to Korea Customs Service (KCS).

Imports of foreign luxury cars surged 35.9 percent from a year earlier to 2.3 billion dollars, or 70,000 vehicles, in the three months ending March 31.

The foreign car imports kept an upward trend, rising from 1.7 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2014, 1.9 billion dollars in the second quarter, 2.1 billion dollars in the third quarter and 2.25 billion dollars in the fourth quarter.

Export car price per unit averaged 14,101 dollars in the first quarter, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier. The unit import price slid 0.2 percent to 32,195 dollars in the same period.

The United States was South Korea's largest auto export destination, while South Korea imported a vast majority of luxury vehicles from Germany.

Auto exports to the United States surged 22 percent in the first quarter, but those to Russia plunged 73.7 percent. Car exports to China, Canada and Australia also declined 19.9 percent, 14.4 percent and 14.8 percent each.


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