Imported cars from North Korea?

Joong Ang Daily
Seo Ji-eun

Automobile statistics from the Korea Customs Service show that South Korea imported 778 cars from North Korea from 2003-2006. Is it true that the North exports its cars to the South? Not entirely.

Under related regulations, when South Korean cars are shipped to the North for use in inter-Korean business, including commerce at Mount Kumgang and the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the cars are classified as “exports” to the North. For the same reason, when passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and trucks from South Korea break down or wear out in the North, they return to the South in the form of “imports.”

North Korea has a handful of car manufacturing factories, but there is only one still in operation, Pyeonghwa Motors. The plant is run by the 70-30 joint venture between South and North Koreas and started mass production in April 2002. It has churned out an annual average of 600 vehicles in all segments, except for trucks and large buses, for exclusive supply to North Korea. According to a Pyeonghwa Motors spokesman, the carmaker accounts for the majority of vehicle demand, with some used cars unofficially imported from Japan.

Special-purpose vehicles, including dump trucks, account for most of the vehicles sent back from North Korea to the South. Other vehicles crossing the border are multi-purpose cars, trucks and vans.


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