Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have set an important new milestone by selling more than 100,000 hybrid cars to date. The affiliated automakers achieved the feat three years and five months after they launched their first hybrid models in 2009, with their combined global sales in this market segment hitting 106,450 units late last month, they announced on Tuesday.
They overcame lackluster sales and saw demand begin to take off in May last year with the release of the Sonata and K5 hybrid sedans. They sold 56,203 hybrids in the first 11 months of this year, up 69 percent from a year earlier. Aggregate sales of the Sonata stood at 55,624 units as of last month, including 21,760 sold in Korea, making up just over half of the automakers' total sales of hybrid models.
However, Toyota, a trailblazer in the hybrid car market, has maintained an overwhelming lead by selling 1.02 million hybrids in the first 10 months of this year. Since it commercialized the world's first hybrid car in 1997, the Japanese automaker's total sales in this market segment amount to 4.6 million units.
Hyundai and Kia, relative latecomers in producing hybrids, lag far behind Toyota in sales volume, but the automakers' latest achievement is significant as it shows how the market has responded strongly to their independently developed model, industry sources say.