ⓘ Automotive industry in North Korea


ⓘ Automotive industry in North Korea

The automotive industry in North Korea is a branch of the national economy, with much-lower production than the automotive industry in South Korea. In North Korea motor vehicle production is geared towards the Korean Peoples Army, industrial and construction goals; there is little car ownership by private citizens.

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea DPRK is not involved with the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs dAutomobiles 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 first-hand 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 and recent sanctions.


1. History

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 Koreas 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.


2.1. Motor-vehicle manufacturers Sungri Motor Plant

Since 1950, Sungri Motor Plant in Tokchon has been North Koreas first and largest motor vehicle plant producing urban and off-road passenger cars; small, medium 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 cars. Vehicles are generally for civilian and commercial use, as government officials favour foreign imports and the armed forces have their own facilities.

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 countrys economic difficulties, with approximately 150 units produced.


2.2. Motor-vehicle manufacturers Pyongsang Auto Works

Since 1968, Pyongsang Auto Works in Pyongsang took over Sungri Motor Plants production of Kaengsaeng and Kaengsaeng NA models: a modified Sungri-4.10 4x4 car the GAZ 69-Jeep combination and a modified Sungri-4.25 4x4 pickup. During the 1970s, it also began production of Taebaeksan and Tujaeng light trucks.


2.3. Motor-vehicle manufacturers Chongjin Bus Works

Since 1974, the Chongjin Bus Works has produced the Jipsam 74, Chongnyonjunwi and Chongjin trolleybus, the Jipsam 86 articulated trolleybus and the Pyongyang 9.25 and Jipsam 86 and 88 buses.


2.4. Motor-vehicle manufacturers Pyongyang Trolleybus Works

Since 1961, Pyongyang Trolleybus Works has produced Chollima 1, 2, 9.11, 9.25, 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 9.25 buses, Kwangboksonyon articulated buses and Chollima mini-buses.


2.5. Motor-vehicle manufacturers Kim Jong Tae Locomotive Works

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