The Lexus ES300h Hybrid is the only hybrid among the top 10 bestselling foreign cars here so far this year. The five-seater sedan comes with both an electric motor and gasoline engine and costs W49.5-61.9 million (US$1=W1,018).
For the first five months of this year, sales of the car reached 1,578 units, up 40 percent on-year, and ranked ninth among imported cars. Last month, the Lexus even outpaced its popular rival BMW520 diesel by selling 367 units.
The popularity of the car, which hit showrooms here two years ago, can be attributed to a shift in marketing strategy toward fuel efficiency and driving comfort.
Drivers who dislike the rattling sound of diesel engines now start looking for hybrids, a Lexus spokesman said. Without any promotions or discount offers from the automaker, consumers are willing to buy the Lexus hybrid even if it now takes one to two months to deliver.
The hybrid version of the Hyundai Grandeur is also drawing a good response as a noiseless premium sedan. Cumulative sales of the model until last month stood at over 6,200 units, accounting for 75 percent of the automaker's total hybrid sales.
Consumers who prefer large sedans to mid-sized ones are more noise-conscious and thus show a higher preference for the Grandeur hybrid, the automaker said.