SEOUL -- South Korean automaker Ssangyong Motor Co. will look to markets such as the U.S. and China to make up for an expected decline in shipments to the U.K. following the Brexit referendum.
The currency fluctuations in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has hit Ssangyong’s exports to the U.K., Vasudev Tumbe, CFO for the automaker, said in an interview in Seoul, without giving details. The Korean won has gained more than 16 percent against the pound since the June 23 vote, making exports from the Asian country more expensive while reducing repatriated profits.
The U.K. accounted for 8.3 percent of Ssangyong Motor’s total sales this year through early July, according to spokesman Choi Jin Woong. The company, which is controlled by India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., doesn’t export to the U.S. and sells relatively few imported vehicles in China, Choi said.
Ssangyong Motor is considering setting up a factory in China, according to Tumbe, adding it’s too early to announce the plan. Most major carmakers including Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. have plants in China, enabling them to avoid paying hefty levies on imported vehicles.
The Korean carmaker’s deliveries have risen 7 percent this year through June, outpacing the gains of 2 percent and 2.3 percent for Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., respectively. Ssangyong Motor’s shares have declined 5.7 percent this year, the company outperforming Hyundai Motor’s 11 percent drop and the 20 percent slump in Kia.