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 military, 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.
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 and Dongfeng Motor 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.
Sungri Motor Plant
- Main article: Sungri Motor Plant
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.
- Main article: Pyeonghwa Motors
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.
Pyongsang Auto Works
Since 1968, Pyongsang Auto Works in Pyongsang took over Sungri Motor Plant's 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.
March 30th Works
Since 1982, the March 30 Works has produced the heavy 100-ton Konsor-100 dump truck.
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.
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 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.
Kim Jong Tae Locomotive Works
Kim Jong Tae Locomotive Works in Pyongyang has produced modified Czech Tatra KT4 trams since the 1990s.
- Automobiles Made in North Korea. China Motor Vehicle Documentation Centre, Seventh edition: February 2010.
- Photos of vehicles made in North Korea compiled by Erik van Ingen Schenau, author of Automobiles Made in North Korea.
- Google Books Retrieved 2012-03-18.
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