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Carmakers see boom in sales of semi-large cars

All Headlines 09:01 February 08, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- Sales of semi-large sedans in South Korea have been on a roll recently with their shipments one-upping those of midsize cars for a second month in January, industry data showed Wednesday.

Domestic sales of semi-large sedans, including Hyundai Motor Co.'s Grandeur and Kia Motors Corp.'s K7, totaled 15,242 units in January, about 1,800 more than those of Hyundai's Sonata and other midsize cars, according to the data.

In December, automakers in South Korea shipped a combined 25,062 semi-large passenger cars, which also outstripped sales of midsize sedans that stood at 21,875 units.

Industry watchers said it is unusual for sales of semi-large sedans to surpass those of midsize cars for a second month in a row. In 2015 and 2016, local carmakers sold far more midsize cars than semi-large sedans.

Sales of semi-large sedans gained great momentum after Kia unveiled the K7 early last year and Hyundai launched the all new Grandeur in November last year.

The new Grandeur instantly became the new darling of local motorists with its sales reaching 10,586 units and 17,247 units in January and December, respectively.

In contrast, automakers suffered big setbacks in sales of midsize sedans in January. Sales of Hyundai's Sonata, often called the people's car in South Korea, nose-dived 36 percent on-year to 3,997 units in January. Shipments of Renault Samsung Motors Co.'s SM6 and Kia's K5 also tumbled more than 40 percent with sales of GM Korea's Malibu dropping over 14 percent.

In a bid to boost slumping sales, Hyundai, South Korea's top automaker, plans to roll out its new Sonata as early as next month. The new Sonata is said to have an entirely different design and new and advanced safety features that are usually seen in upper segment vehicles.

An industry source said the market's attention is now focused on what impact the planned launch of Hyundai's new Sonata will have on sales of midsize cars, which had long been the flagship models in South Korea.

Hyundai Motor Co.'s new Grandeur semi-large sedan (Yonhap file photo)


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