Korean EV sales surge thanks to aggressive promotions

2024.02.28 10:41:02 | 2024.02.28 10:41:12

Kia EV9. [Courtesy of Kia Corp.]이미지 확대

Kia EV9. [Courtesy of Kia Corp.]



Electric vehicle (EV) sales in South Korea saw significant growth in January 2024 compared to the same period during the previous year, with manufacturers coming forward with aggressive discount strategies despite government subsidies being virtually zero during the month.

According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) on Tuesday, domestic EV sales in January totaled 2,514 units, or an around 2.5-fold increase from a year ago.

The best-selling EV during the month was the Kia EV9, with 789 units sold. The EV9 secured the top spot with a substantial lead over the model in second place and Kia’s success is attributed to its bold discount initiatives implemented since the end of 2023.

The BMW i5 eDrive40 claimed second place with 181 units sold and third place went to the Kia Ray EV (162 units), followed by the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (118 units) at fourth place, the Kia EV6 (111 units) at fifth, and the Mercedes-Benz EQB300 (93 units) at sixth.

Typically considered an off-peak season for EV sales, January is regarded as a period when government subsidies are not practically applicable since the government traditionally announces subsidy details in February, following consultations with the industry and stakeholders.

But the increase in EV sales compared to early 2024 is believed to be a result of manufacturers implementing various discounts akin to subsidies to stimulate sales ahead of official subsidy announcements.

Hyundai Motor Group has been actively engaging in promotions such as EV sales festivals and substantial discounts since the end of 2023, with even the luxury car import industry offering discounts of nearly 20 percent.

With recent confirmation of government subsidies, expectations are rising that EV sales will gradually rebound after February. Although the average subsidy per EV has slightly decreased compared to the previous year, manufacturers are expanding discount promotions and supporting charging costs, maintaining optimism for post-February EV sales.

By Park So-ra and Minu Kim

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