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Q1 car sales in S. Korea hit quarterly high on tax cut, new models

All Headlines 10:13 April 08, 2016

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) -- Domestic sales by automakers in South Korea hit their quarterly high during the first three months of this year, bolstered in part by the government's push to extend a tax cut on car purchases, industry data showed Friday.

Five automakers, including Hyundai Motor Co., and Kia Motors Corp., along with two commercial vehicle manufacturers, including Tata Daewoo Co., sold a combined 368,492 cars during the January-March period. This is up from the previous year's 362,856 units.

This represented the best first-quarter sales performance by surpassing the previous record of 362,856 units set in the first quarter of 2011.

The first-quarter brisk domestic sales were attributed mainly to the government's decision to extend a 1.5 percentage rate tax cut on new car purchases. The consumption-boosting scheme was supposed to expire last year, but it has been retroactively applied from January and will be in place until end-June.

New models that hit showrooms at the start of this year also boosted first-quarter sales.

The EQ900, the flagship model of the Genesis, a luxury brand of Hyundai Motor Co., saw its cumulative sales for this year reach 8,210 units. Sales of Hyundai Motor's Ioniq hybrid remained strong at 3,054 units during the first quarter.

Renault Samsung Motors Co.'s recently launched SM6 also drove up overall sales.

The local unit of French carmaker Renault S.A. sold 6,751 units of the latest model in March alone, which helped its total monthly sales exceed 10,000 units for the first time in eight years.

Unveiled last summer here, GM Korea Co.'s new Spark city car posted March sales of 9,175 units, emerging as the second best-seller following Hyundai Motor's Porter truck, the data showed.

Market watchers expect that such a robust domestic sales trend will likely stand in the months to come as the tax cut effect is likely to stick around for some time and additional new models are also expected to boost overall customer interest.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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