Electricfied models reached over 40 percent of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.'s environmentally friendly vehicle sales in the January-October period, an automobile association said Monday.
In the first 10 months, Hyundai and Kia sold a combined 291,237 eco-friendly models in global markets, according to the data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Among them, plug-in hybrid electric, all-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles rose to account for 40.8 percent, or 118,731 units, while that of gasoline hybrid models was 59.2 percent, KAMA said.
KAMA expected the ratio of gasoline hybrid models to end up at below 60 percent on lower demand for the whole of 2019.
Hyundai launched the BlueOn subcompact 5-door hatchback, the country's first all-electric car, in 2011, and Kia came up with the all-electric Ray mini car in 2012.
In 2013, Hyundai added the first-generation hydrogen electric model Tucson ix, and smaller rivals such as GM Korea Co. and Renault Samsung Motors Corp. introduced the Chevrolet Spark EV and the SM3 Z.E., respectively, the same year.
But demand for those electric models remained weak, with the sale of gasoline hybrid models accounting for over 95 percent of eco-friendly model sales.
Sales of electrified models began to increase in 2014 when Kia unveiled the Soul EV boxcar. Kia's Niro EV and Kona Electric models launched in 2016 and 2017, respectively, have received a strong response in the markets.
As global carmakers are vying to gain a leading edge in the emerging EV markets, Hyundai and Kia plan to further strengthen their EV model lineups. Hyundai Motor aims to sell 670,000 all-electric and hydrogen electric vehicles in 2025, with a plan to inject electric models in its high-performance N brand and independent Genesis brand, Hyundai Motor President Lee Won-hee said at a road show held in Seoul last week.
From January to October, the country's five carmakers -- Hyundai, Kia, GM Korea, Renault Samsung and SsangYong Motor Co. -- shipped a total of 296,680 gasoline hybrid, pure electric, plug-in hybrid electric and hydrogen electric models, KAMA said.
Over 98 percent of them were from Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales. (Yonhap)