South Korea's leading carmakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp. saw their combined exports of eco-friendly cars top 100,000 units in the first three months of this year, thanks to the brisk sales of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, data showed Sunday.
In the January-March period this year, the two carmakers exported a total of 111,252 units of eco-friendly cars -- gasoline hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles -- according to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA). The tally is up 28.6 percent from a year ago.
By each carmaker, Hyundai's exports of eco-friendly cars increased 19.7 percent to 56,077 units. Kia's exports of such cars rose 39 percent to 55,175 units, KAMA data showed.
It is the first time that the two carmakers' combined exports of eco-friendly cars surpassed the 100,000 mark in the first quarter. The two firms' annual exports of eco-friendly cars totaled at 373,007 units in 2021 and 269,874 units in 2020.
The two carmakers' export jump was backed by the robust sales of all-electric cars, such as the IONIQ 5 and EV6, as well as plug-in hybrid versions of Hyundai's Santa Fe and Kia's Sorento SUVs, according to KAMA's data.
In the first quarter, their total all-electric car exports soared 80.5 percent on-year to 50,391 units. Kia exported the largest 16,336 units of the EV6, followed by 15,219 units of Hyundai's IONIQ 5 and 12,024 units of its Niro EV. Hyundai's independent Genesis brand exported 594 units of its all-electric GV60.
During the same period, the two carmakers' outbound sales of plug-in hybrids jumped 47.8 percent to 12,390 units.
Despite the strong performance of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, the exports of Hyundai's Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle shrank 87.7 percent to 50 units in the first quarter, compared with 407 units a year earlier. (Yonhap)