South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia motors Corp. Green car sales soared 20.2 percent on year in the first quarter led by a surge in electronic car sales.
According to Hyundai and Kia Motors, the two automakers sold a combined 75, 242 units of 18 environmentally-friendly car model at home and overseas in the January and March period, up 20.2 percent from 62,590, units in the same period a year earlier. Their environmentally-friendly vehicles include hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
Green cars’ domestic sales increased 17.2 percent year over year to 20,540 units in the first quarter ended March and overseas sales 21.3 percent to 54,702 units.
Of the total, sales of electric cars more than doubled from 8,152 units in the first quarter of last year to 21,148 units this year. Electric car sales in Korea increased 53.9 percent to 4,986 units in the same period and overseas more than boosted from 4,905 units to 16,162 units.
The sales rise was led by brisk overseas sales of new SUV electric car models such as Kona Electric and Niro EV sport utility cars.
"We will further advance our competitiveness with the launch of the refreshed Soul EV, supplemented with upgraded versions of Kona, Ioniq and Niro EVs," a Hyundai Motor official said.
Electric cars accounted for 28.1 percent of the Korean car duo`s total green car sales in the first quarter, more than doubling from 13 percent in the same period a year prior.
Main environmentally-friendly car models of Hyundai and Kia had been hybrids until they turned more aggressive in growing sales of electric cars in 2014. In 2015, sales of hybrid cars accounted for 82.1 percent of total green car sales, dropping into the 80 percent range for the first time while electric cars took up 15.7 percent.
In 2016 and 2017, the share of electric car sales tumbled further to the 10 percent range because of the growing popularity of plug-in hybrid cars but rebounded to 21.2 percent a year ago because of new releases of Kona and Niro electric car models.
The EV share surged to 28.1 percent in the January and March period, and given that sales of electric cars have been on the firm increase since March, it is predicted to exceed 30 percent this year.
Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors are offering an extensive selection of green vehicle models ranging from hybrids and electric cars to hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles. They predict their electric car sales will remain to upsurge led by Kona, Niro, and Soul models on rising demand for SUVs.