SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's automobile exports hit a new high last year as demand for high-priced models offset a fall in the total number of shipments, the trade ministry said Tuesday.
Car exports by South Korean automakers reached a new high of 48. 7 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, up 3.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE).
The record figure came amid solid demand for high-priced passenger cars and recreational vehicles (RV), the ministry said. Prices of export cars averaged 14,510 dollars in 2013, higher than 13,596 dollars in 2011 and 10,692 dollars in 2009 respectively.
In terms of volume, the car exports declined 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 3,086,394 units in 2013, the first fall in four years.
The fall was attributed to global economic uncertainties, supply disruption in some carmakers and the weak trend of the Japanese yen. South Korean automakers are fiercely competing with Japanese rivals in the overseas car market.
Exports to the United States and Europe rose 7.9 percent and 2. 8 percent each last year, and those to China, South Korea's No.1 trading partner, jumped 13.2 percent.
Domestic car sales by local automakers reduced 0.3 percent from a year earlier to 1,537,590 units in 2013, keeping its downward trend for two straight years.
Imported car sales hit the new high of 156,497 units in 2013, up 19.6 percent from a year earlier, due to launches of various new models with engine displacement of less than 2 liters and demand for luxury foreign car models among those in their 20s and 30s.