Korea Times. Automakers in South Korea sold a total of 591 hybrids in February, represented 0.5% of the total market, down from a 0.6% new vehicle sales in January. February sales included:
266 units of Hyundai’s Avante hybrid, just more than half of the 526 sold in January. Avante hybrid sales had topped 1,000 after its debut in July through September, but dropped to 627 in October and 485 in December.
Sales of Kia’s Forte hybrid fell from 615 last September to 307 in November to 78 in January.
Sales of the Toyota Prius dropped from 128 last October to 54 in February,
Most other hybrid editions from popular foreign brands fail to sell more than 10 vehicles a month.
“Despite large subsidies and tax incentives, the sales of hybrids are weaker than originally expected. They will eventually take root since an increasing number of people care about the environment, but not in the very near future,” a Seoul analyst said. “The relatively high price tags of the models and the recent recalls of Toyota’s hybrid cars seem to be negatively affecting consumer sentiment toward the new type of vehicles.”
The Korean government offers tax incentives amounting to 3 million won ($2,630) for buyers of hybrid cars. Plus, Hyundai Motor started providing price cuts of up to 2.9 million won this month. Still, observers point out that they are still too expensive for most motorists.
As a counterpoint, sales of Hyundai SUV models were up 70% year-on-year in January and February to 18,704 units. SUV Sales for Kia more than doubled during the same span.