April 17, 2015 11:43
A wide variety of cheaper high-performance hybrid cars are hitting showrooms amid rising demand.
A case in point is Hyundai's Sonata hybrid, which has seen the largest increase in sales for all cars so far this year. In the first quarter, Hyundai sold some 3,221 hybrids, up 280 percent compared to the same period last year.
Industry insiders expect the number of hybrids available in Korea to grow from 20 models to 30 by the end of this year, with six new models already scheduled for release.
Kia will launch the new K5 hybrid in the second half of this year, while BMW rolled out its high-performance sports car, the i8, in March.
The German carmaker already sold over 100 units despite the expensive price tag of W199.9 million. To capitalize on the trend, BMW also plans to release a plug-in hybrid SUV in the second half of this year.
Toyota and Porsche have already released new hybrid cars this year. While Volkswagen and Audi plan to reveal their respective hybrid versions here soon.
"Hybrids are still expensive to produce, but they are the only competitive eco-friendly models on the market," said Prof. Kim Ki-chan of Catholic University.
Meanwhile, rallying oil prices and stricter emissions standards will likely drive hybrid sales even higher.
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