Four out of 10 vehicles sold in South Korea from January to May were sport utility vehicles, reflecting growing demand for recreational vehicles, industry sales data showed on June 17.
In the first five months, domestic and imported carmakers sold 612,043 vehicles, with SUVs accounting for 42 percent, according to data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
“The ratio of SUVs in overall passenger car sales is expected to exceed 50 percent at the end of this year, given the current pace of growth,” a KAMA official said.
The country’s five carmakers -- Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, GM Korea, Renault Samsung Motors and SsangYong Motor -- sold a combined 522,115 vehicles from January to May, with the ratio of SUVs reaching 43 percent, KAMA said.
Hyundai’s Palisade and SsangYong Motor’s Korando helped buoy SUV sales in the domestic market.
To compete with imported SUVs, Hyundai plans to launch its entry-level Venue SUV next month as well as the GV80, a luxury SUV under its independent Genesis brand, later this year. Kia plans to introduce the Seltos entry-level SUV next month.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)