As sales of diesel cars is sluggish due to the recent Volkswagen's emission-cheating scandal, hybrid cars are emerging based on Japanese vehicles.
According to the data about imported car registrations from the Korea Automobile Importers & Distributors Association (KAIDA) on May 22, 3,774 hybrid cars were registered from January to April this year, up 39.8 percent. Its market share also grew from 3.5 percent to 5.1 percent. On the other hand, the number of diesel car registrations during the same period stood at 49,753 units, down 5.7 percent from a year ago. Its market share also slightly decreased from 68.4 percent to 67.4 percent.
The decreasing sales of diesel led to the decrease in sales of German automakers. Although the overall imported car market reduced by 4.3 percent, sales of Japanese automakers rather increased or slightly decreased.
By brand, 8,303 Volkswagen cars were registered from January to April this year, showing a 29.6 percent decrease from the same period a year earlier. The figure of Audi, an auto brand from Volkswagen Group, also declined 27.4 percent from the same time last year. Toyota showed a 3.7 percent decrease year on year during the same period, though Honda saw a 2.7 percent growth.
Toyota released its All New RAV4 Hybrid and the fourth generation Prius in the domestic market in March. The company is actively marketing its hybrid car products with an aim of selling 1.5 million units annually and 15 million units in total in global markets by 2020.
However, some industry watchers say that the market will not be easily changed because diesel cars still show an overwhelming market share with 70 percent. An official from the industry said, “Japanese automakers will have an opportunity but the stronghold of diesel vehicles will not collapse in a day.”