March 5, 2001 - - Export Sales Continue To Boost HMC A February increase in export sales over the same month last year of 22 per cent continued HMC`s record of increasing world-wide development. Domestic sales also showed an increase compared to January, hinting at a recovery of confidence in the Korean market after a fall in sales during late 2000. Exports totaled 73,528, up by 21 per cent over January`s figure of 60,471 and by 22 per cent over last year`s February figure of 60,081. Total exports so far in 2001 reached 133,999 - an increase of 18 per cent over the same period last year when 112, 816 vehicles were shipped. Recovery after poor domestic start The Korean market showed a strong recovery for HMC after a poor start following on depressed overall sales during the latter part of last year. HMC recorded domestic sales of 51,004 compared to 42,094 in January and 51,609 in the same month last year. Total domestic sales for the year so far amounted to 93,098, 10 percent fewer than the 103,394 vehicles sold in the first two months of 2000. Strong demand for HMC`s latest models such as the face-lifted Sonata and the Terracan and continuing demand for Santa Fe, Avante XD - Elantra in overseas markets - and Verna - Accent overseas - indicated Korean consumers are regaining economic confidence after a serious down-turn in the domestic market during the second half of 2000. February figures also showed an improvement in demand for commercial vehicles and buses with 16,189 and 7,501 sold respectively. Both sectors were up by more than 17 per cent compared to January. Good start to the year With a total of 227,097 vehicles sold during the first two months compared to 216,210 in the same period last year, HMC has seen its sales rise by five per cent for the period. Although the domestic market total is still down by 10 per cent at 93,098 compared to 103,394 the gap has narrowed since January and the export performance continues to play an increasingly important role in HMC`s overall business.