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Minor domestic carmakers to face fines over lack of green car sales

This photo provided by Renault Samsung on Aug. 22, 2020, shows the automaker's electric minicar Zoe. (Renault Samsung)
This photo provided by Renault Samsung on Aug. 22, 2020, shows the automaker's electric minicar Zoe. (Renault Samsung)
Domestic carmakers that lack green car models such as Renault Samsung, SsangYong and GM Korea are expected to face heavier pressure from the government to increase supply of more sustainable cars this year.

According to the Ministry of Environment on Tuesday, it will impose fines on automakers that have not been able to fulfill a certain percentage of car sales with more environmentally friendly cars, including electric and hydrogen vehicles, this year.

Carmakers that have sold an annual average of more than 4,500 cars over the past three years are subject to the green car measure. The list includes Hyundai Motor, Kia, Renault Samsung, GM Korea, SsangYong, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi Volkswagen, Toyota Korea and Honda Korea.

Hyundai and Kia, both of which sold more than 100,000 cars last year, will need 12 percent of their car sales to be electric and hydrogen vehicles this year. Others will need 8 percent of their car sales to consist of electric vehicles and hydrogen cars.

If they fail to meet the requirement, the companies will have to pay 600,000 won ($500) per unit below the standard from next year.

In 2026, the amount of the fine will increase to 1.5 million won per unit, and in 2029 to 3 million won per unit.

Minor automakers that fall short of the ministry’s goal on green car sales are highly likely to face such fines.

SsangYong, in particular, has no electric or hydrogen vehicles in its lineup.

Renault Samsung, which sells the Twizy and ZOE electric cars, only sold a combined 1,072 units of them, accounting for 1.75 percent of its car sales here last year.

GM Korea’s environmentally friendly car sales also did poorly last year, with only 1.9 percent of their car sales being green car models.

The numbers are not expected to be remarkably different this year for Renault Samsung, GM Korea and SsangYong Motors, due to their lack of green options.

Renault Samsung’s lone such vehicle, the XM3 Hybrid, is to be launched later this year.

GM Korea is expected to resume selling the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, which were delayed from distribution due to a recall over battery fire risks.

Earlier this month, SsangYong Motors introduced its first electric model, the Korando e-Motion.

“Renault Samsung, SsangYong and GM Korea will have a lot of concerns in complying to such measures. It will be a major financial burden for them to produce more environmentally friendly cars, but ultimately that is the auto trend around the world,” said Kim Pil-soo, a professor of automotive engineering at Daelim University.

By Hong Yoo (yoohong@heraldcorp.com)
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