The car most preferred by Korean consumers is ‘hybrid SUV’

Photo: Hyundai Motor Company's All New Santa Fe
Photo: Hyundai Motor Company’s All New Santa Fe

[M Today Reporter Lee Sang-won] Korean consumers’ car purchasing patterns are rapidly switching to hybrid SUVs.

The popularity of electric vehicles, which was briefly on the rise, has waned since last year, and hybrid and gasoline vehicles are becoming mainstream.

In terms of vehicle type, the purchase of SUVs instead of sedans has overwhelmingly increased.

In an annual automobile planning survey (targeting 100,000 people every July) conducted in July 2023 by Consumer Insight, an automobile research agency, 32,671 people who intend to purchase a new car within the next two years were asked about their desired fuel type vehicle, and 38% chose hybrid vehicles., Gasoline vehicles were 36%, electric vehicles were 15%, and diesel vehicles were 7%.

Hybrid vehicles rose 7 percentage points compared to the previous survey, surpassing gasoline vehicles to take first place.

Last year, the number of new car registrations also increased by 46.3% for hybrid vehicles compared to the previous year, while gasoline vehicles only increased by 5%.

In fact, even in contracts for major models such as Sorento, Santa Fe, and Sportage, hybrid vehicles account for 70-80% of the total.

The intention to purchase electric vehicles remained in the 4-5% range until 2020, but then rose explosively from 2021, soaring to 25% in 2022, and then falling to 15% in 2023.

SUVs are overwhelmingly increasing in purchases by car type.

According to the Kaizu U Data Research Institute, the number of newly registered SUV vehicles last year was 802,974, an increase of 9.3% compared to the previous year. This corresponds to 53.2% of newly registered vehicles last year.

On the other hand, sedans were registered only at 495,450 units last year, similar to the previous year (494,591 units).

Minivans such as the Carnival increased by 21.5% to 125,568 units, and pickup trucks such as the Rexton Sports and Colorado decreased by 38.7% to 18,199 units.

Last year, SUV sales exceeded all other vehicle types combined, including sedans, minivans, pickup trucks, coupes, hatchbacks, and convertibles.

Korean consumers were looking for gasoline or diesel sedans until 2-3 years ago, but are now flocking to hybrid SUVs.

Experts believe that the trend toward hybrid SUVs is the result of recent changes in lifestyles, including a greater proportion of outdoor life, as well as increased interest in economy, practicality, and safety.


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