SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — Imported plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are seeing a major sales boost this year as they are becoming more affordable or even less costly than vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Getcha, a local data provider of new car releases, reported that BMW’s 530e sedan, this year’s best-selling PHEV model with 3,322 units sold, is priced at 68.7-71 million won (US$58,720-60,680), which is similar to the price of the BMW 530i, a gasoline model, thanks to a series of discount promotions.
The Mercedes-Benz’s GLC 300e 4MATIC (76.8-80.9 million won) and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan E 300e (83.8 million won) with around 2,000 units sold this year were 1-3.2 million won cheaper than their equivalents that run on gasoline.
The GLC is a highly popular medium-sized SUV with various models that feature gasoline, diesel and and hybrid drivetrains. Among them, the PHEV model was the most popular in the lineup with 2,255 units sold.
The marketing offensive put forth by foreign carmakers is driven by the fact that the South Korean PHEV market has yet to be dominated by any company. Not a single South Korean PHEV model has been sold this year.
South Korea has been embroiled in a heated debate over whether PHEVs are eco-friendly or not, and their sales, too, have failed to breach the 10,000-unit benchmark almost every year.
The Ministry of Environment eliminated subsidies of 5 million won for PHEVs this year.
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)