Diesels and hybrids all the rage as consumers feel pinch

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Diesels and hybrids all the rage as consumers feel pinch

A growing number of Korean drivers opted for diesel and hybrid cars rather than gasoline vehicles in the first seven months of the year due mainly to a recent oil price hike, industry data showed yesterday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, diesel-powered vehicles took up 25.7 percent of the country’s passenger car market in the January-July period, up from 21.7 percent a year earlier. The passenger car market includes sport utility vehicles.

Sales of vehicles with a diesel engine jumped 12.2 percent on-year during the seven-month period, with 173,623 units sold, while the entire passenger car market retreated 5.2 percent on-year, the data showed.

Hybrid cars accounted for 2.3 percent, with 15,546 units sold during the cited period, also up from 1.1 percent a year ago.

But sales of gasoline-powered cars fell 17.3 percent on-year to 389,388 units in the first seven months of the year, with a share of 57.6 percent, down 8.4 percentage points from a year earlier.

Industry insiders attributed an oil prices hike to the popularity of diesel-powered cars, leading people to put stronger emphasis on a better fuel efficiency.

Domestically, gas prices at the pump topped a record 2,135 won per liter in April and have been hovering around 2,000 won for months.


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