Burning vehicles boost automotive fire extinguisher sales

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Burning vehicles boost automotive fire extinguisher sales

Sales of automotive fire extinguishers have shot up 33 times in the last few weeks compared to a year earlier as a spate of vehicle fires across Korea has put drivers on edge.

Between Aug. 1 and 14, automotive fire extinguisher sales rocketed 3,246 percent year on year, according to ecommerce website TMON on Thursday. The category of safety-related goods for cars, including warning triangles and mini hammers to break windows, recorded a sharp increase in terms of revenue - fourfold compared to last year.

“Reports of car fires have been coming up regardless of model and manufactured date - this seems to have been fueling anxiety among consumers that their vehicles may not be safe,” said TMON in a statement.

Goods aimed at cooling down vehicle also proved popular. During the same two weeks, sun shades that attach to car windows sold 243 percent more on year and electric fans designed to be installed in sedans saw sales rise 11 percent, which TMON says is related to the fact that excessive use of air conditioners can overheat car engines.

Meanwhile, the government is looking into making it obligatory for more cars to carry fire extinguishers. The current rule is that an automobile with more than seven passengers should have at least one, but those with less seats are not subject to the same obligation.

With the number of fires continuing to grow, experts have been calling for fire extinguishers to be compulsory. The government tried to do just that two years but met with opposition from carmakers for various reasons including claims that fire extinguishers take up space, and pull down fuel efficiency.

The National Fire Agency said that a group of lawmakers proposed a bill in May to extend the regulation to sedans with five seats and under.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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