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Hybrid car sales drop sharply in Oct.

South Korea’s hybrid vehicle sales dropped sharply in October despite high fuel prices, local industry sources said Tuesday.

Consumer demand for the fuel efficient vehicles that run on both combustion engines and electric power posted a double digit slump in sales despite concerted efforts by carmakers and the government.

Seoul has moved to cut taxes levied on hybrids to bolster sales, while producers have offered favorable warranties to attract consumers.

Hyundai Motor Co. South Korea’s largest carmaker said it sold 694 Sonata and Avante hybrids last month down 31.4 percent from 1,011 sold in September.

Kia Motors Corp., Hyundai’s affiliate, also said sales of its K5 and Forte models fell 22.6 percent on-month to 651 units in October.

Local automotive analysts claimed that while hybrids enjoy greater fuel economy, they usually cost up to 4 million won ($3,550) more than conventional gasoline and diesel-driven vehicles.

“Such initial high costs may be discouraging people from buying hybrids,” an expert claimed. He added that despite the excellent mileage, it may take time for consumers to seriously consider owning hybrid vehicles. 

(Yonhap News)
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