Hyundai Motor"s Grandeur Hybrid. [Photo by Hyundai Motor Co.]
Car sales in South Korea jumped by double digits in January on extended tax benefits and new releases of green cars, raising high expectations for fast rebound from a Covid-19 slump.
According to the Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association on Tuesday, a total of 116,550 cars were sold in January in Korea, up 16.6 percent from the same month a year earlier when the new coronavirus was yet to develop into a pandemic.
Daily sales also added by near 5 percent on year as consumers rushed to buy new cars while the tax breaks remain intact until June.
Buying was mostly centered in green car and sport utility vehicles (SUV).
Sales of eco-friendly cars jumped more than 82 percent on year with newly released hybrid models of Hyundai Grandeur, Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sorento. More than 10 percent of all cars sold last month were eco-friendly vehicles.
Hybrid sales expanded 94 percent, while all-electric vehicle sales contracted 62 percent due to a still-undetermined government subsidy for all-electric cars. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles saw a 75.3 percent rise in sales with Hyundai Nexo selling nearly 140 units.
All finished car makers, except for Renault Samsung Motors Co., reported a sharp rise in domestic sales.
The country’s largest Hyundai Motor Co. posted a 25 percent growth on strong sales of its popular SUV such as Tucson, Santa Fe and Palisade and large sedans Grandeur and Genesis models.
Kia Corp. delivered a 12-percent gain, riding on growing popularity of recreational vehicle models including Carnival and Sorento as well as stabilized production conditions following the wage settlement with its union in December last year.
Grandeur was Kia’s best-selling model in January, followed by Carnival, Sorento, Tucson and Avante.
Overseas shipments also have been rebounding in full steam.
Korea’s auto exports last month rose 29.5 percent on year. Exports turnover surged 40.2 percent on hot demand for high value-added vehicles.
By Seo Jin-woo and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]