0210 GMT February 23, 2020
The five carmakers — Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. — sold a combined 565,099 vehicles in February, down from 571,495 units sold a year ago, according to their sales data, Yonhap reported.
The overall sales figure was affected as demand in the domestic market remained sluggish amid the slowing economy.
Domestic sales fell 1.07 percent to 104,307 vehicles last month from 105,432 units a year ago. But overseas sales moved up 1.1 percent to 460,792 autos from 466,063 during the cited period, the findings showed.
Hyundai's sales rose 0.3 percent to 313,172 units last month from 312,268 a year ago helped by robust sales of the Santa Fe and Palisade sport-utility vehicles.
Sales of its 34 percent-owned affiliate Kia gained 0.1 percent to 197,647 from 197,418 during the same period on increased sales of the Sportage SUV in overseas markets.
This year, the two carmakers said they will focus more on reviving sales in the US and China, the world's two most important automobile markets, by launching their new SUV models that include Kia's Telluride SUV.
But the ongoing trade war between the so-called G-2 economies and slowing global economy remain major hurdles for Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, this year.
The two carmakers have set a conservative target of 7.55 million vehicles for 2019 after missing their sales goal for 2018. They sold 7.4 million units last year.
The companies have been struggling with a decline in sales in the two major markets after failing to recognize consumers' growing appetite for SUVs.
Hyundai launched the all-new Santa Fe SUV and the face-lifted Tucson SUV in the US last year. Kia introduced the new K3 compact in the US But the models didn't buoy overall sales as expected.
Hyundai plans to launch the Palisade flagship SUV in the US to stimulate sales this year, while Kia already began to sell the Telluride SUV in the US.
SsangYong Motor posted a 4.3-percent on-year gain in February sales, with 9,481 units, helped by strong sales of the Rexton Sports SUV at home and abroad.
In contrast, GM Korea and Renault Samsung suffered sharp declines due to weaker demand for their models in global markets.
GM Korea's sales declined 11 percent on-year to 32,718 units last month and Renault Samsung's plunged 27 percent to 11,721 from 15,994 during the period.