SEOUL, Dec. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — Lexus ES300h gasoline hybrid model has become the first imported hybrid to post accumulated sales exceeding 20,000 units in South Korea, the Japanese carmaker’s local office said Monday.
The ES300h was launched in the Korean market in 2012, with total sales hitting 6,112 models sold last year, accounting for one third of the imported hybrid vehicle market, a company spokesman said.
The 2.5-liter hybrid model has a rated fuel economy of 16.4 kilometers per liter petrol and priced between 52.7 million won-74.7 million won (US$49,000-$69,000) depending on the trim level.
To further boost sales of its hybrid models in South Korea, Lexus Korea launched the new 3.5-liter LS500h model last week to meet a rising demand for fuel-efficient, low emission vehicles. It is priced at 151 million won to 173 million won depending on features.
Hybrid vehicles account for almost 10 percent of South Korea’s imported passenger car market. Lexus Korea is aiming to gain a share in the “premium hybrid flagship segment,” Toyota Motor Korea President and CEO Yoshida Akihisa said last week.
Lexus vehicles are sold as an independent sub-brand separately from Toyota vehicles produced by Toyota Motor Corp. in global markets.
Helped by the LS model full revamp, the company expects to sell 12,500 Lexus vehicles this year, up 20 percent from a year earlier. Next year, it forecast a 10-percent on-year growth in Lexus car sales.
In the January-November period, Lexus Korea sold 11,294 units, up 23 percent from 9,170. Toyota Motor Korea sold 10,660 autos in the first 11 months, a 29-percent on-year growth, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association (KAIDA).
The two brands accounted for 10.3 percent of the 212,660 imported passenger car sales in South Korea during the 11-month period, KAIDA said.