With chip shortage, mini-trucks are zooming off lots
Hyundai sold 26,569 Porters between January and April in Korea, making the truck its best-selling model. Kia sold 21,760 Bongo 3s during the same period, and it too was the No. 1 model in terms of unit sales.
It was the first time commercial vehicles topped the best selling lists of the country’s two largest automakers, Hyundai Motor Group said Sunday.
A total of 20,828 Sorento SUVs were sold in the January-to-April period, and 19,408 Avante sedans. Grandeur sedans followed with 18,151 units sold. Avantes and Grandeurs are two of Hyundai's best-selling models.
The global semiconductor shortage did not affect the production of commercial vehicles as much as passenger cars, as trucks are less likely to need high-end components.
Electric versions of small-sized trucks were particularly popular. A total of 11,550 Porter 2 Electric models and Bongo 3 EVs were sold this year as of end of April. Hyundai launched the Porter 2 Electric in December 2019, and Kia released the Bongo 3 EV in January 2020.
For all of 2021, a total of 26,533 Porter 2 Electrics and Bongo 3 EVs were sold, significant increases on year for both models.
The two EV trucks can only travel 211 kilometers (131 miles) per charge, but they were popular during the Covid pandemic.
Government incentives on small electric trucks were a big contributing factor. People who wish to use their trucks for business purposes are normally required to have yellow license plates that cost them around 20 to 30 million won ($15,700 to $23,500).
But starting in 2018, the Korean government offered the plates for free for electric trucks 1.5-tons or smaller as an attempt to increase their sales. That incentive ended in March.
The end of the incentive program, however, did not nip surging demand for trucks. In April alone, Hyundai Motor sold 8,423 Porter trucks and Kia sold 6,402 Bongos. The two models were No. 1 in terms of sales in April.
BY SARAH CHEA [email@example.com]