SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — Concern over fine dust emissions and the rising price of diesel fuel are seeing gasoline cars bounce back in the South Korean automobile market.
Data released by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Tuesday showed the number of gasoline-fueled cars registered between January and June accounted for over 50 percent of all new registrations, marking the first time since 2013 that gasoline vehicles accounted for over half of the market.
On the contrary, the market share of diesel cars plunged to 36.3 percent, an additional drop from the 39.7 percent recorded last year, which was the lowest since 2013.
After a peak in 2015, when diesel cars first became more popular than gasoline cars, the downward trend has continued unabated.
In the meantime, alternative energy cars such as electric and hybrid vehicles have proved popular, particularly hybrids, with a market share that has nearly doubled in the past four years.
A similar trend was observed among imported cars, as the number of foreign diesel cars decreased by 8.6 percent within the last year.
Given the fact that 7 in 10 imported cars were diesel in 2015, the stark difference in this year’s automobile market marks a shift among South Korean car buyers.
“Since the Volkswagen and Audi emissions scandal, a combination of issues such as anti-diesel sentiment, fine dust particles and rising diesel fuel prices contributed to a drop in the sales of diesel cars, which as a result helped increase sales of gasoline and alternative energy cars,” an official at the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association said.