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Hyundai is now world’s No. 2 seller of green cars

Aug 23,2017
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Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Korea’s two largest automakers Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, has ranked second in the global eco-friendly market, according to data released Tuesday by IHS Markit, a London-based market analysis firm.

In the first half of 2017, the two automakers sold a combined 102,480 eco-friendly vehicles, including electric, plug-in and hybrid cars, behind Toyota’s 600,000.

“Eco-friendly car sales jumped over 126 percent year on year,” a Hyundai spokesperson said. “We sold as many cars in the first six months of this year as we did last year [at 107,822].”

Traditionally, Japanese automakers have dominated the eco-friendly market. Honda Motor, which was ranked second at the end of 2016, fell behind Hyundai and Kia in the first six months of this year. Honda sold 80,780 electric cars up to June this year, compared to a total of 235,000 last year.

Hyundai Motor Group’s accomplishment comes three years early. The automaker in June initially set a target of becoming the world’s second-largest seller of eco-friendly cars by 2020.

By type, sales of full electric vehicles nearly tripled, from 3,948 during the first half of 2016 to 9,936 this year. Sales of plug-in hybrid went from 758 to 1,792 over the same period. Hybrid cars showed the slowest growth, from 40,518 in the first six months of 2016 to 90,659 in 2017.

Hyundai Motor Group first entered the eco-friendly car market in July 2009 with the Avante Hybrid and Forte Hybrid. Since then, the company has introduced various models, including the Grandeur Hybrid earlier this year.

The company’s full electric car, the Ioniq, is considered one of the most eco-friendly models on the market. Its hybrid counterpart was named the most energy-efficient vehicle by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year.

By next March, Hyundai plans to launch a hydrogen-powered car, considered the ultimate type of eco-friendly vehicle by local automakers. The car can reportedly go more than 500 kilometers (311 miles) on one charge.

Hyundai also plans to launch an electric version of the Kona, the company’s first small SUV, next year. By 2021, it hopes to release an electric-version of the luxury Genesis sedan.


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]