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Hybrid car sales to reach record high in 2016
Sales of environmentally friendly cars, including plug-in hybrids, are expected to reach a new annual high this year, industry data showed Sept. 7.

Accumulated sales in the first eight months of the year have already topped the 2015 total. In the January-August period, the number of electric and environmentally friendly cars sold by five automakers here came to 34,781, up 9.7 percent from the 2015 total of 31,703, according to data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The sharp increase was apparently helped by the launch of two hybrid cars by industry leader Hyundai Motor and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors.

Kia Motors has sold 11,743 units of the Niro SUV hybrid since the vehicle was launched in late March, also making it the best-selling hybrid car in South Korea.

Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq plug-in hybrid sold 7,922 cars over the January-August period, making it the second most popular hybrid vehicle model here.

The five automakers include GM Korea, Ssangyong Motor and Renault Samsung Motors.

Along with their increased sales of green cars in the local market, their exports and overseas sales of environmentally friendly cars are also on the rise.

In the first eight months of the year, Hyundai and Kia alone sold a combined total of 30,438 environmentally friendly cars in overseas markets, up 13 percent from the same period last year, the data showed.

The two automakers have said they will expand their lineup of environmentally friendly cars to 28 models by 2020 from the current 12.