SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- Sales of sport utility vehicle models in South Korea hit a record high last year as carmakers strengthened their SUV lineups to meet rising demand for recreational vehicles, industry data showed Thursday.
For the whole of 2019, the country's five automakers, including Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., sold a combined 575,662 SUVs here, accounting for 38 percent of their domestic sales of 1,533,166 passenger vehicles, according to the carmakers' sales data.
Their local sales fell 0.8 percent last year from 1,545,926 units a year earlier. But the sale of SUVs exceeded the approximately 500,000 units sold in 2018, jumping from 133,000 in 2000 and 337,750 in 2014.
Hyundai's midsize Santa Fe and flagship Palisade SUVs led the overall advance last year.
The country's biggest carmaker plans to launch the luxury GV80 SUV under its independent brand Genesis later this month, with its affiliate Kia planning to unveil the Sorento SUV later this year to further boost sales.
In 2019, the five carmakers sold a total of 7,923,026 autos, down 4 percent from 8,235,478 units a year ago amid a slowing economy, the data showed.
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