Shown above is the Trailblazer of GM Korea. The sports utility vehicle topped the list of South Korea’s automotive export list in the first half of this year. Photo courtesy of GM Korea

Trailblazer second to none in outbound shipment

General Motors Korea’s sports utility vehicle Trailblazer topped the export list of South Korea in the first half of this year, according to the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on July 17.

The ministry noted that GM Korea had exported 123,160 units of Chevrolet Trailblazer during the first six months of 2023, up from 61,121 units a year before.

Hyundai Motor’s Avante ranked No. 2 with 104,314 units, followed by the Korean automaker’s Kona with 99,863, Kia’s Niro with 77,828, and Kia’s Morning with 76,649. Kia is a sister brand of Hyundai.

GM Korea’s Trax came in sixth place with 73,000. In June alone, the crossover model even nudged past the Trailblazer with the outbound shipment of 24,359 units.

In other words, GM Korea assumed the top two slots in South Korea’s best-exporting car list last month.

The Trailblazer was designed and engineered by GM Korea to be launched in early 2020. It has been exclusively manufactured at the company’s plant west of Seoul.

The Trailblazer and the Trax boosted GM Korea’s first-half export to reach 196,160 units, up 83 percent year-on-year.

“We are rolling out the Trailblazer and the Trax models this year as the lack of automotive semiconductors is mostly dealt with. Most of our cars head toward the United States,” a GM Korea representative said.

Thanks in no small part to GM Korea, South Korea saw its automobile exports jump to 1.42 million units during the January-June period, up 32.6% from a year ago.

The North American region, composed of the U.S. and Canada, was the biggest export market by a big margin, ahead of the European Union and Asia.

“The Trailblazer is highly popular in foreign countries. Its export is expected to remain strong for the time being,” Daelim University automotive professor Kim Pil-soo said.

“But GM Korea’s presence is relatively weak in the domestic market. If it can raise its market share here, GM Korea will be able to chalk up a quantum growth.”

In the first half, GM Korea sold 18,984 vehicles in the Korean market for a market share of 2.1 percent.