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S.Korea car exports to rise faster next year

Growth in South Korean car exports is expected to accelerate next year on solid demand from emerging markets and on new models, a research unit of Hyundai Motor Group said on Tuesday.

Korea Automotive Research Institute forecast combined overseas sales from the country’s five car makers, including Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Motors Corp , to grow 7.2 percent to 3 million units in 2008.

That compared to a 5.6 percent rise forecast for this year.

“Demand from emerging markets is likely to keep rising, although growth in the global economy may slow due to the impact from the financial market turmoil related to the U.S. subprime mortgage sector problems,” the institute said in a statement.

Domestic sales, which usually carry higher margins, are expected to rise 6.3 percent to 1.36 million vehicles next year, exceeding 1.3 million units for the first time in five years.

The study also said global car sales would grow 4.9 percent to 71.8 million vehicles in 2008.

Overall car sales in China, the world’s fastest-growing auto market, are seen increasing 13.9 percent to 10.2 million units, and India’s sales are expected to rise 16.8 percent to 2.23 million.But U.S. car sales are expected to edge up only 0.2 percent overall to 16.1 million.

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