Hyundai, Kia’s green car sales to further grow on govt support

By Kim Bo-gyung
  • Published : Dec 9, 2018 - 16:48
  • Updated : Dec 9, 2018 - 16:48

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors’ green car sales are widely expected to grow further in 2019 on the back of the government’s increased budget to expand the use of ecofriendly cars here, industry insiders said Sunday.

The two flagship companies of Hyundai Motor Group sold a combined 257,861 units globally between January and November this year, up 10 percent on-year, according to officials.

By vehicle type, sales of electric vehicles soared 112.4 percent to 52,370 units, plug-in-hybrids 51.9 percent to 25,967 units, fuel cell electric vehicles 42.5 percent to 798 units, and hybrids 7.1 percent to 178,726 units.

The two carmakers are expected to maintain their growth momentum on the Ministry of Environment’s enlarged budget of 680 billion won -- 540.2 billion won ($480 million) for electric vehicles and 142 billion won for FCEVs.

With the aims of expanding the number of FCEVs to 4,000 units and building 30 charging stations, next year’s budget for FCEVs rose 664.3 percent to 142 billion won from this year’s 18.5 billion won.

Hyundai Motor's FCEV Nexo (Hyundai Motor)

The government also raised the number of electric vehicles eligible for government subsidies to 42,000 units from 20,000 units, on top of plans to construct 1,200 high-speed charging stations.

“Besides the budget hike, the government also needs to clarify specific policies for Korean automakers to take the lead in the transition. For example, China and California will implement more stringent regulations for mandatory EV sales,” said automotive engineering professor Kim Pil-soo of Daelim University.

Suggesting a clear timeline for carmakers to suspend production of combustion engine vehicles, which had so far remained vague, Volkswagen strategy chief Michael Jost revealed its plan to ditch making such vehicle types after 2026, at a summit in Germany last week.

In the race to lead the market for green cars, Hyundai and Kia have come up with plans to develop 38 green car models, including 14 electric vehicles, by 2025, and to become the world’s third-largest ecofriendly carmaker.

Adding to Hyundai and Kia’s green car portfolio, currently made up of 16 models, Kia Motors is slated to launch the new Soul EV here in the beginning of 2019, alongside the Ionic electric, Niro hybrid and fully changed Sonata hybrid.

By Kim Bo-gyung (