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Sales of hybrid cars expected to reach record high in 2016

All News 08:25 September 07, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- Sales of environmentally friendly cars, including plug-in hybrids, are expected to reach a new annual high this year with the accumulated sales in the first eight months of the year already topping the 2015 total, industry data showed Wednesday.

In the January-August period, the number of electric and environmentally friendly cars sold by five automakers here came to 34,781, up 9.7 percent from the 2015 total of 31,703, according to data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The sharp increase was apparently helped by the launch of two hybrid cars by industry leader Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp.

Kia Motors has sold 11,743 units of the Niro SUV hybrid since the vehicle was launched in late March, also making it the best-selling hybrid car in South Korea.

A photo of the Kia Niro compact SUV hybrid (Courtesy of Kia Motors)

Hyundai Motor's IONIQ plug-in hybrid sold 7,922 cars over the January-August period, making it the second most popular hybrid vehicle model here.

The five automakers include GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of U.S. carmaker General Motors Co.; Ssangyong Motor Co., the local unit of Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Lt.; and Renault Samsung Motors Co., the local unit of French automaker Renault S.A.

Along with their increased sales of green cars in the local market, their exports and overseas sales of environmentally friendly cars are also on the rise.

In the first eight months of the year, Hyundai and Kia alone sold a combined total of 30,438 environmentally friendly cars in overseas markets, up 13 percent from the same period last year, the data showed.

The two automakers have said they will expand their lineup of environmentally friendly cars to 28 models by 2020 from the current 12.


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