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Hyundai, Kia sells over 500,000 hybrid cars worldwide

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors saw a boost in their sales of eco-friendly cars, with their combined sales reaching over 500,000 vehicles worldwide, the companies said Monday.

An accumulated total of 514,759 hybrid cars, including plug-in hybrids, were sold from 2009, when Hyundai rolled out its first hybrid model, until last month, data from the company showed.

A hybrid car runs on both a combustion engine and a battery electric drive system, emitting less pollutants than a conventional car. It tends to be sold at a higher price than conventional cars.

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle uses a combustion engine, electric motor and a rechargeable battery, allowing drivers to charge the battery from an electrical outlet.

The Sonata Hybrid. (Hyundai Motor Group)
The Sonata Hybrid. (Hyundai Motor Group)

The best-selling hybrid model was Hyundai Motor’s Sonata Hybrid sedan with global sales of 207,299 units from its release in May 2011 to last month, according to the data. The hybrid version of Kia Motors’ top-selling K5 midsize sedan came in at No. 2 with 111,644 units. This was followed by Kia’s Niro Hybrid SUV with 87,992 units.

Kia Motors noted that the Niro hybrid SUV came in at third place even though it was only released in March 2016.

“Sales of hybrid cars continue to rise due to increasing awareness about climate change and fine dust. Economic benefits provided by the government and fuel efficiency are also attractive factors for drivers,” said a spokesperson of Hyundai Motor.

Benefits offered to hybrid car owners include a cash subsidy of 1 million won ($893) provided by the government and a 50 percent discount when using public parking lots.

Among hybrid vehicles sold worldwide, domestic sales of hybrid cars totaled 202,556 units, the company said.

The Sonata Hybrid and the K5 Hybrid also ranked the two most popular hybrid models in the domestic market, posting sales of 63,352 units and 37,351 units, respectively, the data showed.

The hybrid version of Hyundai’s best-selling premium sedan Grandeur took third place with 34,829 units sold, reflecting Korean drivers’ continued preference for the model amid the rising popularity of full-size hybrid sedans, such as the Grandeur and large-size K7 sedan.

Automakers sold a total of 4,269 units of large-size hybrid cars here between January and April this year, up 24.1 percent year-on-year, according to data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The first-ever hybrid model rolled out by the two auto firms was Hyundai Motor’s Avante Hybrid compact sedan released in 2009.

With Hyundai’s Ioniq Hybrid sedan and Kia’s Niro Hybrid SUV introduced last year, the two companies currently offer a total of six hybrid models worldwide, including hybrid versions of the Sonata, K5, Grandeur and K7. 

 By Kim Bo-gyung (