Hyundai/Kia Plug-In Hybrids Hot Sellers Outside Of Korea, Duds Within


Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Hyundai/Kia reports that its plug-in hybrid vehicles aren’t selling well in the automotive groups home nation of South Korea, but its PHEV sales elsewhere are beyond expectations.

Hyundai Sonata PHEV

That’s according to Korea Herald’s report that states:

“In the January-April period, Hyundai and its sister company Kia exported a combined 2,090 PHEVs mainly to advanced markets where customers’ environmental awareness is relatively high compared with less developed countries, according to the companies’ data.”

“The sales figure from January to April already reached 72 percent of last year’s overall exports of 2,891 PHEVs. The two carmakers exported a total of 1,185 PHEVs in 2015, the data showed.”

We certainly aren’t looking at high volume figures here, but look at the improvements outlined above and you’ll notice that there’s been some impressive growth.

Hyundai/Kia credits this growth to the availability of additional PHEVs.. Sales will likely get a massive boost when deliveries of the PHEV Kia Niro crossover begin later this year.

Oh, and here’s the dismal sales of PHEVs by Hyundai/Kia in home country of South Korea:

“Hyundai and Kia sold a combined 84 PHEVs here in the first four months. Their PHEV sales climbed slightly to 137 last year from 128 a year earlier, the spokesman said.”

With that said, Hyundai has mastered selling the all-electric car in its home/domestic market (which might be a reason why its PHEVs aren’t quite so popular.

The new Ioniq Electric has backlogs of 4-6 months in South Korea (selling over 5,500 copies domestically during the first 4 months of 2017), and the company announced it June it will increase production by 50% to attempt to accommodate the demand.

Source: Korea Herald

Categories: Hyundai, Kia


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13 Comments on "Hyundai/Kia Plug-In Hybrids Hot Sellers Outside Of Korea, Duds Within"

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F150 Brian

This is a “No sh.t Sherlock” moment. South Korea is a tiny country (less than 1/4 the size of California) and they have one border (with North Korea).

200 mile range would get you to pretty much anywhere in the country. Long road trips would be non-existent which is the primary benefit of PHEV over BEV.

David Murray

I had the same thought.. The Ionic Electric should be able to handle all of the driving needed in S.Korea. I mean, where else are you going to go?


Obviously they’ll need longer range when they make the marine and aero versions available.


It is 250 miles between the two largest cities Seoul and Busan.

500 miles round-trip.

That will require two charge stops with an Ioniq electric, four to get there and back.

It is one of few countries where ranges probably will stop at 200-250 miles + proper charging.


I thought the same thing myself. SK is one country where a 250 mile range is basically all you’ll ever need. There’s no way to drive out of the country with NK there. The whole concept of a “road trip” car is basically moot.

Mark C

Eric, how does this article square up with:

The first piece seemed to say most of the Hyundai Ionic production was staying in Korea, because they couldn’t satisfy their home market in a timely fashion. Or, did I miss something?


The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is a pure EV, not a PHEV, therefore the articles square perfectly. PHEV: not popular in SK. BEV: popular in SK.


I tried to get Google Maps to tell me how far it is to drive from Seoul to one of the cities on the south coast and it just said ‘driving not available’.


I tried that too. Apparently South Korea has some strange laws limiting the use of mapping data. An article from way back in 2013 said Google was trying to get it changed, but apparently it hasn’t worked so far!

Don Zenga

PHEV version of both Sonata & Optima are overpriced. Please reduce the price.

Fusion Plugin is one of the best sellers because its priced approprately.


That sounds like the Bolt…

Dud for the US, sold out outside of US.


MMF.. you are an idiot!! As of July the Bolt is only available in California & 4 other CARB states. Towards the end of the year it will be available in all 50 states. So tell me again why the Bolt is not selling well.. could it be because it’s NOT AVAILABLE to buy in 45 states?? D-U-HHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had no idea that Texas is a CARB state. D-U-HHH!!!!!!!