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(LEAD) Hyundai, Kia gain bigger share in Sweden's car market in 2017

All News 11:17 April 12, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS photo, background in last two paras)

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. increased their market share in Sweden last year as local economic recovery boosted car sales, a state-run trade agency said Wednesday.

Hyundai and Kia sold a combined 31,532 vehicles in Sweden in 2016, gaining an 8.47-percent share in the passenger car market. The figures were up from 26,288 units and a 7.62-percent share a year earlier, data by the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).

KOTRA regularly reports South Korean carmakers' sales results on its webpage, with Hyundai and Kia's car sales results based on official findings provided by Bil Sweden, the Scandinavian country's automobile manufacturers association.

"A combination of increased disposable income, low unemployment and low interest rates allowed customers to open up their wallets to buy a new car," KOTRA said, citing an association official.

As a result, the number of car registrations reached 372,318 units in Sweden last year, jumping 7.9 percent from 345,108 a year earlier, the report said.

Kia's Cee'd compact car was among the top 10 best-selling cars in the European country last year, it said.

Kia's Cee'd compact car (Courtesy of Kia Motors)

Hyundai and Kia currently sell 20 models in Sweden, including environment-friendly vehicles such as Kia's Niro and Hyundai's Ioniq hybrid.

As the Swedish government offers subsidies for "green" cars, Hyundai and Kia need to introduce more eco-friendly models that are tailored to the country's needs to strengthen its presence in the growing market, the report said.

In Western Europe, Hyundai sold a total of 505,396 units last year to grab a market share of 3.3 percent, with Kia selling 435,316 for a share of 2.9 percent, the companies said.

Their sales data for markets in Eastern Europe, except for Russia, cannot be obtained for an overall analysis of the region, a Hyundai spokesman said.

In 2016, the two Korean carmakers sold about 7.9 million vehicles in global markets. They together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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