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Foreign car imports in S. Korea surge on stronger won


09:53, January 23, 2013

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Foreign automotive imports in South Korea surged in 2012 as the won's ascent against the U.S. dollar reduced import prices of foreign luxury brands.

South Korea imported around 150,000 vehicles worth 4.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, up 26.8 percent from a year before, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said in a statement on Tuesday. The growth was much faster than a 2.7 percent rise in auto exports by local manufacturers.

The import surge came amid stronger won that reduced prices for vehicles imported from overseas. The imported auto price averaged 30,337 dollars per unit in 2012, down from 31,675 dollars in the prior year.

The average export price of locally-made automobiles rose to 13, 364 dollars last year from 13,037 dollars a year before. Auto exports by domestic carmakers grew at a slower pace of 2.7 percent in 2012 compared with a 29.1 percent surge in 2011.

Trade surplus in the auto industry reached 36.5 billion dollars last year, up 0.3 percent from the previous year. The customs office said brisk exports to the United States and Russia helped the balance stay in the black, adding that large-sized cars from Germany and smaller ones from France were popular among local consumers last year.

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