SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – The number of hybrid cars sold in the South Korean market hit a record high in 2015, data showed Monday, amid increased awareness of environmentally friendly vehicles.
Sales of hybrid cars in the country reached 38,978 units in 2015, up 7 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
The figure broke the previous record of 38,343 units posted in 2012. In 2008, South Korea’s market for hybrid cars stood at 1,070 units.
Hyundai Motor Co., the country’s top carmaker, accounted for 22,596 units, trailed by Kia Motors Corp. and GM Korea Co. with 6,505 units and 44 units, respectively. Toyota Motor Corp. sold 9,039 units of hybrid cars here, with other foreign brands selling 747 units.
Industry watchers said the growth is significant as it came amid falling global oil prices, a trend which usually induces consumers to choose traditional automobiles. The rising demand for hybrid models reflects the local consumers’ rising awareness of the environment, they added.
Sales of hybrid cars in the country are estimated to hover far above 50,000 units in 2016 following the release of new models by key players.
Hyundai Motor kicked off the sales of the Ioniq hybrid earlier this month, while Kia Motors also plans to launch the country’s first small hybrid-SUV around March, dubbed the Niro.
Toyota will also release the fourth-generation Prius hybrid in South Korea around March, which will also wrestle with local rivals.’