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SMMT: UK Car Shipments to South Korea Up 67.8% in First Six Months of 2018

  • UK car shipments to South Korea rise 67.8% in first half of 2018 with almost 15,000 premium, luxury and high-performance models heading to the country
  • South Korea now UK Automotive’s third biggest Asian market after China and Japan, taking 2.2% of exports
  • 834,402 cars built at UK factories in the year to date, down -3.3% but still at a high level
  • Global demand drives British output, with 80.9% of UK-built cars exported to 160 countries worldwide

Korean demand for British-built case rose by more than two thirds in the first six months of 2018, with almost 15,000 motorists choosing one, according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Increasing popularity of the UK’s desirable range of premium, luxury and high performance models helped drive UK automotive exports, which, although down by a marginal -0.8%, accounted for more than eight out of every 10 cars produced.

A total of 834,402 cars rolled off UK production lines from January to June, a -3.3% decrease on the same period in 2017 as the domestic market was affected by factors, including tax changes and uncertainty over future policies on diesel. The UK Government’s recognition in its Road to Zero Strategy of the critical role this advanced technology will play for years to come is hoped to restore this certainty over the coming months.

Meanwhile, export demand from UK cars from 160 countries worldwide now represents 80.9% of all UK car output. In the first six months, global demand grew in a number of markets, notably India(+83%), Japan (+77.3%) and the USA (+1.5%), while China maintained its position as the UK’s third biggest customer after the EU and US, taking 6.4% of exports. Although British-built cars for EU customers fell -3.6% in the first half, Europe remained the UK’s biggest trading partner, accounting for more than half of all cars produced for export (53.4%). EU countries make up half of UK Automotive’s top 10 export destinations, highlighting the importance of continued free and frictionless trade.

South Korean demand also saw significant growth, growing 67.8% over the period, with some 14,771 buyers choosing British brands, including Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover, MINI and Rolls-Royce. Meanwhile, in the UK, 60,604 UK buyers invested in cars from Korean factories, representing 4.6% of the UK new car market. Exports to Asia as a whole have increased 11.2% this year as motorists across the region continue to be attracted to the latest, cutting-edge models made in Britain.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “British car exports to South Korea surged in the first half of this year, thanks to our world class engineering, manufacturing expertise and illustrious brands. South Korea is one of UK Automotive’s most important Asian markets, with trade in vehicles and components working both ways. The EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which enables cars and components to move across borders without tariffs, has been critical in supporting this relationship and for both sides to benefit from open trade post-Brexit, Britain needs existing trading agreements to be maintained.”

Top 5 British bestsellers in South Korea 

  1. Land Rover Discovery Sport
  2. MINI One
  3. Land Rover Discovery
  4. MINI Clubman
  5. Land Rover Range Rover Velar

About SMMT and the UK automotive industry
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media.

The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £82 billion turnover and £20.2 billion value added. With some 186,000 people employed directly in manufacturing and 856,000 across the wider automotive industry, it accounts for 12.8% of total UK export of goods and invests £3.65 billion each year in automotive R&D. More than 30 manufacturers build some 70 models of vehicle in the UK supported by 2,500 component providers and some of the world’s most skilled engineers.

More detail on UK automotive available in SMMT’s Motor Industry Facts 2018 publication at smmt.co.uk/facts18

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