The five automakers -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. -- sold a combined 11,627 vehicles last month, up sharply from 7,505 units tallied for June, according to sales figures provided by the companies.
The sharp gain appears mainly attributed to the release of two new models -- Hyundai's Kona and Kia's Stonic -- which started reaching the local market in June and July.
Hyundai's Kona and Kia's Stonic accounted for 27 percent and 12 percent of the total subcompact SUV sold in July, with sales of 3,145 and 1,342 units, respectively, the data showed.
Three other carmakers also came up with upgraded versions of subcompact SUVs to compete with the two latest models. GM Korea, Renault Samsung and SsangYong have recently launched the upgraded Trax, QM3 and Tivoli subcompact SUVs, respectively.
The demand for the three existing models didn't fall despite the launch of Kona and Stonic. GM Korea sold 1,282 Trax models last month, up 90 percent from a year earlier, with Renault Samsung's QM3 sales posting a 29-percent on-year jump. SsangYong's Tivoli sales gained 1.6 percent during the same time period, data showed.
As customers increasingly choose subcompact SUVs over compact and subcompact sedans, the local subcompact SUV market is expected to grow further in the coming years, industry watchers said.
The B-segment SUV market has grown more than five times in the past five years since 2013 with annual sales hitting 110,000 units. The demand for recreational vehicles has grown amid the global economic recovery and low oil prices. (Yonhap)