German automakers gain ground in South Korea, outselling General Motors for first time

BMW saw the biggest jump with February sales nearly doubling to 6,118 vehicles, industry data showed. (Reuters)
Updated 07 March 2018

German automakers gain ground in South Korea, outselling General Motors for first time

SEOUL: Mercedes and BMW both sold more cars in South Korea than General Motors for the first time last month, helped by the growing popularity of German premium brands and as consumers shied away from GM after it announced a major restructuring.
While home-grown automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors dominate the local market, high-end German vehicles have made inroads in recent years with more diverse offerings for brand-conscious consumers.
BMW saw the biggest jump with February sales nearly doubling to 6,118 vehicles, industry data showed. That was just a tad behind Mercedes which led the imported car rankings with 6,192 cars, up 12 percent from the same period a year earlier.
South Korea last year became the sixth biggest market for Mercedes, climbing from eighth place.
GM’s announcement last month that it plans to shut down of one of its four factories in South Korea and was weighing the fate of the three other plants resulted in domestic retail sales nearly halving in February to 5,804.
With consumers worried about loss of after-care services and residual value, GM lost its long-held spot as South Korea’s No. 3 automaker, slipping to sixth place.
The US automaker, whose South Korean operations are primarily geared toward exports, is seeking financial aid from Seoul as well as concessions on wages and benefits from its local union to stay operating in the country.
Talks with the labor union on Wednesday failed to produce concrete results although some 2,500 workers have applied for voluntary redundancy package.
“We hope to wrap up talks with the labor union and the government swiftly,” a GM Korea spokesman said.
“A drawn-out restructuring will hurt consumer trust,” he added.


Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

Updated 22 September 2020

Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

  • Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd – over 1 percent of global production – before the blockade
  • Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable

LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks to revive its oil industry, crippled by a blockade since January.
Oil prices fell around 5 percent on Monday, partly due to the potential return of Libyan barrels to a market that’s already grappling with the prospect of collapsing demand from rising coronavirus cases.
Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd — over 1 percent of global production — before the blockade, which slashed the OPEC member’s output to around 100,000 bpd.
NOC, in a statement late on Monday, said it is preparing to resume exports from “secure ports” with oil tankers expected to begin arriving from Wednesday to load crude in storage over the next 72 hours.
As an initial step, exports are set to resume from the Marsa El Hariga and Brega oil terminals, it said.
The Marlin Shikoku tanker is making its way to Hariga where it is expected to load a cargo for trader Unipec, according to shipping data and traders.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said last week his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports.
NOC insists it will only resume oil operations at facilities devoid of military presence.
Nearly a decade after rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes overthrew dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains in chaos, with no central government.
The unrest has battered its oil industry, slashing production capacity down from 1.6 million bpd.
Goldman Sachs said Libya’s return should not derail the oil market’s recovery, with an upside risk to production likely to be offset by higher compliance with production cuts from other OPEC members.
“We see both logistical and political risks to a fast and sustainable increase in production,” the bank said. It expects a 400,000 bpd increase in Libyan production by December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, are closely watching the Libya situation, waiting to see if this time Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable, sources told Reuters.