Sales of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-powered vehicles gained traction after the Korean government lifted barriers in consumer purchase of LPG vehicles in March to help promote cleaner fuel on roads.
According to data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Korea LPG Association on Tuesday, LPG vehicle sales came to 11,434 units in April, up 39 percent compared to an average sales volume of 8,229 units in the first three months of this year. The industry associations expect the sales volume to increase faster in the second half.
The government had limited LPG fuel only to taxis, rental cars and vehicles for disabled people for many years, but the regulation was lifted this year to promote eco-friendly car fuel.
Renault Samsung Motors showed the fastest increase in LPG car sales with a 71 percent rise among the country’s major car brands over the same period. Kia Motors’ sales were up 16 percent from 2,642 units in the first three months to 3,056 units in April. Hyundai Motor reported a 13 percent rise in LPG car sales from 5,303 units to 5,992 units.
The government and the finished car industry anticipate a strong turnaround in the sale of LPG vehicles from the latter half of this year. State-funded Korea Energy Economics Institute said LPG vehicle registrations would surge to 3.3 million units by 2030 from 2.03 million units currently.
Car manufacturers are upping marketing efforts to draw consumer attention to much cheaper and eco-friendly options while expanding their lineup of new LPG vehicles.
Renault Samsung Motors said on Monday that preorders for The New QM6 LPe, the industry’s only LPG-powered sport utility vehicle, hit 1,000 just in a week. Kia Motors is planning to add an SUV model to its LPG lineup in July.
By Lee Jae-cheol and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]