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Automotive industry in North Korea

auto industry in north korea
The automotive industry in North Korea is a branch of the national economy, with much-lower production than that in South Korea North Korean motor vehicle production is geared towards the Korean People's Army, industrial and construction goals; there is little car ownership by private citizens In addition to cars and trucks, North Korea produces buses, trolleybuses and trams

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea DPRK is not involved with the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles OICA or any other United Nations industrial committee, so information about its motor vehicle industry is limited The OICA does not publicize figures for automobile production in the DPRK As reported by a limited number of observers with firsthand knowledge, North Korea has the capability to produce 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles a year; however, within the past few years only a few thousand vehicles have been produced due to its ongoing economic crisis


  • 1 History
  • 2 Motor-vehicle manufacturers
    • 21 Sungri Motor Plant
    • 22 Pyeonghwa Motors
    • 23 Pyongsang Auto Works
    • 24 March 30th Works
    • 25 Chongjin Bus Works
    • 26 Pyongyang Trolleybus Works
    • 27 Kim Jong Tae Locomotive Works
  • 3 References
  • 4 Further reading
  • 5 External links


The North Korean automobile industry had its origins during the Soviet era, and the DPRK began motor-vehicle production with licenses obtained from the USSR The Soviet Union provided assistance in building automotive plants in the country, which were then equipped with technology developed by the Soviet Union North Korea's first domestically produced automobiles were copies of Soviet designs, such as the GAZ-51 midi-truck, GAZ 69 off-road four-wheel drive vehicle and the GAZ-M20 Pobeda passenger car

More recently, North Korean vehicles have been copies of foreign vehicles via reverse engineering The DPRK has purchased vehicles made by Mercedes-Benz such as the W124, Jeep, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Marcopolo, Changan Automobile and Brilliance Auto and reproduced them North Korea has also begun exporting domestically produced vehicles to other countries, notably Vietnam; Mekong Auto sells Fiat-licensed vehicles to Vietnam

Motor-vehicle manufacturersedit

Sungri Motor Plantedit

Main article: Sungri Motor Plant The Sungri-58 truck

Since 1950, Sungri Motor Plant in Tokchon has been North Korea's first and largest motor vehicle plant producing urban and off-road passenger cars; small, midi- and heavy cargo, haulage, construction and off-road trucks and buses under the names Sungri, Jaju and others It was the most capable plant of the North Korean automotive industry before being surpassed by Pyeonghwa Motors All models are reported to be replicas or derivations of foreign cars1 Vehicles are generally for civilian and commercial use, as government officials favour foreign imports and the armed forces have their own facilities2

The Sungri Motor Plant was founded in November 1950 as the Tokchon Motor Plant 덕천자동차공장 It produced its first vehicle, a Sungri-58 truck, in 1958 In 1975, the plant was renamed Sungri Motor Plant sungri meaning victory in Korean In 1980, annual production was reported by the government to be 20,000 units per year, however the rate was more likely between 6,000 and 7,000 units per year In 1996 production was crippled due to the country's economic difficulties, with approximately 150 units produced The Sungri ZR 5000 Giant Dumping Truck, is powered by a W shaped 4 cylinder engine producing 1000hp, and a claimed speed of 200 kmph2

Pyeonghwa Motorsedit

Main article: Pyeonghwa Motors Pyeonghwa Pronto GS Pyeonghwa Paso 990

Founded in 2000, Pyeonghwa Motors in Nampo is an auto manufacturing and retailing joint venture between South Korea's Pyeonghwa Motors owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church and the North Korea's Ryonbong General Corp Pyeonghwa Motors products are sold under the names Hwiparam, Bbeokgugi Peokkugi and Zunma: small and luxury cars, minivans, SUVs and pick-up trucks under license

Pyeonghwa has the exclusive rights to car production, purchase, and sale of used cars in North Korea However, most North Koreans are unable to afford a car Because of the very small market for cars in the country, Pyeonghwa's output is reportedly very low In 2003, only 314 cars were produced even though the factory had the facilities to produce up to 10,000 cars a year3 Erik van Ingen Schenau, author of the book Automobiles Made in North Korea, has estimated the company's total production in 2005 at not more than around 400 units4

In summer 2006, the North Korean government magazine Foreign Trade, which advertises North Korean products, published a photograph of a new luxury car produced by Pyeonghwa, the Junma,5 which appears to be a rebadged version of the South Korean SsangYong Chairman67 The Chairman bears a strong resemblance to Mercedes-Benz cars, which are favored by North Korean government officials, and is indeed based on an old Mercedes E-Class designcitation needed

In 2006, Pyeonghwa reached an agreement with Chinese manufacturer Brilliance China Auto to assemble its Jinbei Haise vans, which are based on an old version of the Toyota Hiace89

In 2007, Pyeonghwa introduced Brilliance's Junjie car under the name Hwiparam II The original Fiat-based Hwiparam has appeared on Pyeonghwa's web site10

In 2009, Pyeonghwa announced a profit on its North Korean operations11

The Premio and Pronto are also sold in Vietnam by Mekong Auto12 Both are based on Huanghai vehicles Mekong Auto has sold Fiat cars in Vietnam since 1995, and this relationship may have led to Pyeonghwa assembling Fiats in North Koreacitation needed

Pyongsang Auto Worksedit

Since 1968, Pyongsang Auto Works in Pyongsang took over Sungri Motor Plant's production of Kaengsaeng and Kaengsaeng NA models: a modified Sungri-410 4x4 car the GAZ 69-Jeep combination and a modified Sungri-425 4x4 pickup During the 1970s, it also began production of Taebaeksan and Tujaeng light trucks

March 30th Worksedit

Since 1982, the March 30 Works has produced the heavy 100-ton Konsor-100 dump truck

Chongjin Bus Worksedit

Since 1974, the Chongjin Bus Works has produced the Jipsam 74, Chongnyonjunwi and Chongjin trolleybus, the Jipsam 86 articulated trolleybus and the Pyongyang 925 and Jipsam 86 and 88 buses

Pyongyang Trolleybus Worksedit

Chollima-091 trolleybus at line

Since 1961, Pyongyang Trolleybus Works has produced Chollima 1, 2, 911, 925, 70, 72, 74 and 84, Chongnyon, Chongnyonjunwi, Ikarus 260T, Ikarus IK187, and Chollima 032 trolleybuses; the Chollima 962, 90/903, Ikarus 280T and Sonyon articulated trolleybuses, Pyongyang 925 buses, Kwangboksonyon articulated buses and Chollima mini-buses

Kim Jong Tae Locomotive Worksedit

Kim Jong-tae Locomotive Works in Pyongyang has produced modified Czech Tatra KT4 trams since the 1990s


  1. ^ Kim, Mi-young 2002-02-05 "The Struggling North Korean Automobile Industry" The Chosun Ilbo Archived from the original on 5 December 2002 
  2. ^ a b Hoare, James E 2012 Historical Dictionary of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press ISBN 0810879875 
  3. ^ "The Chosun Ilbo English Edition: Daily News from Korea" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  4. ^ "China Car Forums - View Single Post - Pyeonghwa Motors DPRK and Mekong Vietnam" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  5. ^ "wwwkcckpnet / server maintenance" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  6. ^ "globalautoindexcom - This website is for sale! - globalautoindex Resources and Information" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  7. ^ "Google Translate" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  8. ^ "Pyeonghwa Motors DPRK and Mekong Vietnam - China Car Forums" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  9. ^ "wwwkcckpnet / server maintenance" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  10. ^ "Chinese cars abroad - Page 5 - China Car Forums" Retrieved 4 September 2016 
  11. ^ Pyeonghwa Sells in North Korea, Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2009
  12. ^ Mekong "Mekong - Tin tức" Retrieved 4 September 2016 

Further readingedit

  • Automobiles Made in North Korea China Motor Vehicle Documentation Centre, Seventh edition: February 20101

External linksedit

  • Cars portal
  • North Korea portal
  • Photos of vehicles made in North Korea compiled by Erik van Ingen Schenau, author of Automobiles Made in North Korea
  1. ^ China Motor Vehicle Documentation Centre 2006 Automobiles Made in North Korea Retrieved 29 December 2016 

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