Grandeur, first released in the domestic market through collaboration with Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi in 1986, gained iconic recognition among South Koreans as the "car of a successful person." The full-sized sedan was popular among businessmen for its spacious trunk, capable of fitting four golf bags, and luxury interior wide enough for a whole family. Grandeur has gone through six major changes with the latest seventh generation released in November 2022.
According to Hyundai, a total of 8,109 Grandeur hybrid models were sold in the South Korean market in January and February 2023 to become the country's most popular clean energy vehicle model. The number of hybrid models sold accounted for about 43 percent of Grandeur sales. The second-most popular model was Kia's Sorento hybrid, a sport utility vehicle (SUV) model, with 5,455 units sold during the same period.
Hybrid vehicles, equipped with a battery and fossil fuel-based hybrid drive system, are favored by consumers living in South Korea with some 1.5 million registered full electric vehicles (EVs) and some 170,000 private and public EV chargers. Because there's about one charger for every 10 EVs, many consumers find the charging process very stressful and sometimes postpone their plan of buying an EV until the charging infrastructure is expanded.
A total of 8,846 units of hybrid cars were sold in South Korea in February, up 117 percent from the same period a year ago. Some 211,000 hybrid cars were sold in 2022. About 5 percent of hybrid cars were plug-in hybrid vehicles that can charge their batteries by plugging into chargers for EVs.
The popularity of hybrid cars was accelerated in South Korea during the last few years due to increased global fuel prices and inflation. Hybrid cars with electric motors and fossil fuel engines spend up to 50 percent less fuel than full gasoline or diesel models.
According to data released by the South Korean government, the number of clean energy vehicles accounts up to about six percent of the total registered cars of about 25 million and is increasing by an annual growth rate of about nine percent. "The increasing rate of clean energy vehicles exceeds that of fossil fuel cars," a transport ministry official said in a statement released in 2022.
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