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Auto exports from South Korea to U.S. drops sharply

Staff Writer |
Auto exports to the United States, South Korea's No. 1 auto market, and Saudi Arabia sharply plunged in the first seven months of the year.

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Auto shipments to Saudi Arabia, last year's No. 2 auto market for South Korea, dropped 40 percent from a year earlier to $1.31 billion in the January-July period, marking the first decline in 14 years.

In 2002, auto exports to the Middle Eastern country dipped 10.1 percent. Last year, auto shipments to Saudi Arabia reached $3.67 billion, the data showed.

A sharp plunge in oil prices was attributed to such a sharp dip in exports to the oil-rich country, which sapped demand for new autos there.

Auto shipments to the U.S. also sank 6.7 percent in the first seven months of the year to $9.92 billion, set to mark the first annual decline since 2009, when the country suffered a 25.6 percent dip in auto exports to the world's No. 2 auto market.

In contrast, Australia became South Korea's No. 2 auto market this year with auto exports to Australia rising 20 percent over the cited period to $1.33 billion. The sharp rise came as Hyundai Motor and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp.'s compact sedans, such as the i30, gained huge popularity there, the data showed.

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