May 18, 2017 12:05
Hyundai and affiliate Kia's sales of plug-in hybrid electric cars remain disappointing at home even as they increase healthily overseas.
Hyundai and Kia said Wednesday they exported 1,308 plug-in hybrids last month, the first time monthly sales surpassed 1,000. Hyundai sold 359 Ioniqs and 196 Sonata plug-in hybrids. Kia sold a whopping 753 K5 plug-in hybrids over the same period.
Cumulative PHEV sales in the first four months of this year already totaled 2,090 or 72 percent of total sales last year. But at home Hyundai shifted only 37 Ioniq and nine Sonata PHEVs and Kia not a single one.
The main reason is the price tag. Plug-in hybrids cost an average of W5 million more than regular hybrid cars, and buyers get only W5 million in government subsidies, much less than incentives for people who buy all-electric cars, which lie between W14 million and W26 million (US$1=W1,123).
"There's a wide variety of plug-in hybrids available in the U.S. and Europe, and many foreign countries offer the same incentives to people buying PHEVs and electric vehicles," said Lee Hang-gu at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade.
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