Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's top automaker, said Sunday that pre-sale orders for its new Sonata sedan topped the 13,000 unit mark in eight business days, fanning hopes that demand for mid-sized sedans will grow in the country.
The world's fifth-largest automaker said it has received slightly over 13,000 orders for the Sonata LF since March 5 when it started accepting pre-orders.
Hyundai said the level of interest shown by local consumers is noteworthy because the purchases are being made without the benefit of government tax breaks.
In 2009, when the outgoing Sonata YF model was unveiled, Seoul was in the process of reducing registration and acquisition taxes by up to 70 percent for people who got rid of their old vehicles with poor gas mileage for newer fuel-efficient cars.
The larger-than-expected pre-order figure indicates the country's mid-sized auto market is likely rebounding, according to industry sources.
Demand for the Malibu mid-sized car that was rolled out earlier this month by GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of U.S. automotive giant General Motors, is expected to remain high as well on the back of its fuel economy, the sources said.
The new diesel-powered car will benefit from increasing demand for fuel-efficient and affordable passenger vehicles in the extremely competitive mid-size segment, the sources said.
On fuel economy, the company said the car can travel 15.7 kilometers per liter when driven on the highway, 11.9 kmpl in the city and 13.3 kmpl in mixed driving conditions. The combined mileage is again better than the gasoline Malibu of the same engine displacement that gets 11.6 kmpl, GM Korea said earlier.
Last month, a total of 12,349 mid-sized sedans were sold in the country, down 12 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association. February sales accounted for 14 percent of the total auto sales, the lowest monthly tally in five years, the data showed.
The portion of mid-sized sedans to total shipments has been on a sharp decline, coming in at 25.8 percent, 20.4 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. (Yonhap)