SEOUL, Aug. 16 (Korea Bizwire) – On August 15, with reports from Hyundai and Kia indicating that 141,681 eco-friendly cars had been sold thus far this year as of the end of last month, it is believed that the automotive giants may have found a possible lifeline out of their troubles.
To put into perspective the increased strength of eco-friendly car sales, this year’s sales are 2.5 times higher than the same period last year. Furthermore, with five months remaining in the year, sales have already surpassed last year’s total by 10 percent.
Buoyed by the strong returns, industry insiders and the automotive companies themselves believe that sales of 200,000 eco-friendly cars could be reached, a record-setting number.
A breakdown of the sales figures showed that hybrids were by the far the most popular with 119,780 sold. Rounding out the other options were electric cars with 13,220 vehicles sold, plug-in hybrids with 8,485, and hydrogen cars with 196.
The good news for the struggling domestic automotive industry is even more pronounced when taking into account sales of eco-friendly cars in foreign markets. For the first time, sales of Korean eco-friendly models surpassed the 100,000 milestone, a 35.3 percent increase compared to 2016’s total sales.
The principal drivers of the growth are the success of Hyundai’s Ioniq and Kia’s Niro in foreign markets.
Introduced in the latter half of last year, the Ioniq hybrid recorded monthly average sales in excess of 1,000. Sales figures for the Niro hybrid in the U.S. market are unavailable, but are believed to be robust.
Positive reviews of the Korean cars by American ratings agencies and institutions may have played a big part in Hyundai and Kia’s success. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed in a report at the end of last year that the Ioniq had surpassed Toyota’s Prius to be the number one selling car. Information services company J.D. Power in its “2017 Initial Quality Study” rated the Niro the best small SUV, enhancing its prestige and expanding its exposure to consumers.
To spur on growing demand, Hyundai will introduce the Ioniq plug-in hybrid model in the U.S. market before the end of this year. Kia will also begin sales of the Niro plug-in hybrid model in the U.S. but will take a step further by also releasing the vehicle in the European market.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)