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Hyundai, Kia rise to 4th in green car sales

All Headlines 13:54 March 08, 2016

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp. emerged as the world's fourth largest in terms of sales of eco-friendly vehicles last year, industry data showed Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Automotive Research Institute, a Hyundai Motor Group-affiliated think tank, the two South Korean carmakers sold a combined 73,592 eco-friendly cars including pure electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Their eco-friendly vehicle sales represented a 4.9 percent rise from a year earlier. Their raking in the market also rose from fifth to fourth.

The 2015 sales were driven mostly by relatively strong demand for pure electric vehicles. Last year, the two sold 8,651 units of EVs including Kia Motor's Soul EV launched in May 2014, a 437.8 percent surge from the previous year, the data showed.

Japan's Toyota topped the pack by selling 1.08 million eco-friendly cars last year, though its total sales shrank 8.6 percent from the previous year. Honda, another Japanese carmaker, came next by selling about 231,000 units, followed by Renault-Nissan with 81,000.

U.S. carmaker Ford slipped to fifth with its sales dropping 21.5 percent over the cited period.

Last year, automakers sold a total of 1.99 million eco-friendly cars, a mere 2.1 percent rise from a year earlier, apparently affected by historically low crude oil prices.

The sales, however, are expected to grow 17.8 percent on-year in 2016 to 2.35 million units as major carmakers are set to unveil their latest hybrid and EV models in the months to come.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors earlier announced their mid-term business plan for the green car market by aiming to launch more than 26 models by the end of 2020 and also raising their combined market share over 10 percent.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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