Sales of Large SUVs Soar

Sales of large SUVs are going through the roof as more and more families look for cars that can carry lots of suitcases and other travel gear ahead of the summer camping season.

The demand for large SUVs is growing particularly among those in their 30s, who tend to be active in outdoor leisure activities with young children. Unlike existing small or mid-sized SUVs that can carry five passengers, large SUVs can carry seven, increasing their appeal.

Kia Motors on Sunday said it sold more than 1,000 units of its large SUV Mohave both in March and April. Accumulated sales so far this year totaled 3,832 units and the order backlog stands at some 2,000 units, translating into waiting periods of more than two months.

Lee Hwa-won at Kia said, "We expect sales this year to surpass 10,000 units, exceeding the record set last year of 9,012 units."

Hyundai saw sales of its large Veracruz SUV total 1,225 units from January to April, up more than 40 percent.

Imports are also strong. Sales of the seven-seater Ford Explorer surpassed 1,130 units in the first four months of this year, up almost 200 percent on-year, and Audi sold 206 of its Q7 compared to just 113 a year earlier.

Sales of the Fiat Freemont totaled 178, up more than 1,000 percent on-year. A Fiat spokesman said the surge stems from a nearly W10 million discount on the vehicles in April, in addition to price reduction early this year (US$1=W1,026).

BMW saw sales of its five-seater X5 SUV almost triple to 375 units.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 19, 2014 13:18 KST