In this file photo, a car camping festival is held in a camp site in Sanju, 270 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Oct. 24, 2020, for sport utility vehicle drivers. (Yonhap)
Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) sold by South Korean automakers sharply rose to exceed 600,000 units for the first time in 2020 on the back of the rising popularity of car camping and new lineups, industry data showed Sunday.
Five companies -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. -- sold a combined 615,982 units last year, a 15.3 percent surge from a year earlier, the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) said.
SUV sales accounted for 44.8 percent of their total vehicle sales in 2020, up from 41.3 percent a year ago, the KAMA said.
Industry officials attributed the rising popularity of SUVs to growing demand for domestic travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the launch of new lineups by automakers.
Hyundai Motor Co., the nation's leading automaker, sold 248,242 SUVs, a 3.9 percent on-year hike, thanks to its robust sales of the Palisade, Santa Fe and Tucson models.
SUV sales by its sister company Kia Motors rose 21.3 percent to 196,453 units over the period. Its midsize SUV Sorento was the bestselling model of the sector with 82,275 unit sales last year. (Yonhap)