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Sales Of Eco-Friendly Vehicles In South Korea Up In January

By February 13, 2017 at 7:14 am
In 2015, South Korea became the world's fifth largest auto market for eco-friendly cars. (Photo : WSJ.com)

With South Korea becoming the world's fifth biggest eco-friendly car market in 2015, sales in January continued to go up in the first month of 2017, according to industry data released Monday

Boosted by robust demand for hybrid vehicles, the number of units sold in South Korea reached 4,237 last month, compared to 2,979 units in the same period in 2016.

Kia's eco-friendly car Niro hybrid, topped the sales with 973 units sold, followed by the K7 hybrid with 636 vehicles sold. 

The carmaker's 1,795 eco-friendly cars sold last month was the main factor for the increase in overall sales in January. Kia sold 630 units in the same period last year.

Despite its relatively small market size, South Korea climbed to fifth place among the world's largest eco-friendly auto market in 2015. A total of 41,959 eco-friendly vehicles were sold that year, which includes hybrid vehicles and electric cars.

That same year, a total of 2.34 million eco-friendly cars were sold globally, which gained 10 percent from the previous year. South Korea accounted for 1.8 percent of all shipments worldwide, according to data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA).

Sales of foreign-made eco-friendly cars in South Korea also increased in January. Last month's sales of 1,435 imported hybrid and electric cars was more than double compared to the 671 units sold a year earlier.

GM Korea Co., an affiliate of American carmaker General Motors Co., launched the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle in the Korean market in early February. 

Meanwhile, domestic sales of Hyundai Motor Co.'s eco-friendly cars dipped last month, selling 973 units, compared to 1,674 units sold last year.

Hyundai and Kia sold around 70,000 eco-friendly vehicles worldwide in 2015, trailing behind Toyota, Honda and Renault-Nissan.

With government support in place, industry observers believe that the share of eco-friendly cars in all registered vehicles in South Korea will likely increase. The proportion stood at 0.9 percent in 2015, which slightly up from 0.7 percent in 2014.  

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