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Sales of eco-friendly cars in Korea surge in 2017 helped by new models

According to Yonhap News,

(SEOUL=Yonhap News) Sales of eco-friendly cars in Korea surged 41.6 percent on-year in 2017, helped by the introduction of new models, industry data showed Sunday.

Data provided by leading carmakers like Hyundai Motor Co., and sister brand Kia Motors Corp. along with Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA), showed sales of "green cars" hitting 97,486 units last year compared to 68,826 in 2016.

Eco-friendly cars refer to hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and pure electric vehicles (EVs) that use less or no fossil fuel for their propulsion.

Of the total sold last year, 83,762 or 85.9 percent were hybrid-types of vehicles with 13,724 being EVs.

Industry reports showed that after breeching the annual 40,000 unit sales mark in 2015, demand has been growing at a strong pace.

Data revealed that while hybrids still constituted the bulk of sales, demand for EVs exceeded the 10,000 mark for the first time, reflecting growing consumer preference for zero-emission cars.

By carmaker, Hyundai and Kia accounted for 72.9 percent of all eco-firnedly car sales followed by imports that made up 23.6 percent. Renault Samsung Motors Co. sales reached 2.8 percent pf the total with GM Korea Co., that sells its cars under the Chevrolet badge, making up 0.6 percent.

By vehicle type, Kia crossover hybrid Niro ranked No. 1 with 23,647 vehicles sold during the year, with Hyundai's Grandeur hybrid sedan coming in second at 18,491 units sold. The Ioniq series of cars, comprised of hybrids, PHEVs and EVs, also by Hyundai, came third with sales hitting 12,399 units.

Among imports the Lexus ES300h reported sales of 7,627 units for the entire year.

Industry insiders said that while sales of hybrids and EVs did not top the 100,000 mark last year, it is likely to do so in 2018 with the launch of more green cars.

Hyundai is set to start sales of its Nexo hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle in March, with the EV version of the Kona small crossover to begin in the first quarter. Kia is getting ready to unveil the Niro EV and a brand new Soul EV, to expand its lineup.

GM Korea said it too will start receiving orders of its popular Bolt EV this week with some 5,000 on orders having been placed at Among import carmakers, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Nissan all have plans to roll out new green cars in the South Korea market.

"With improvements in the competitiveness of new eco-friendly cars consumers are becoming more accepting of higher price tags," an industry insider said. He, however, pointed out 2018 sales figures will better help gauge the future of the market.

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Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 14, 2018)
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