Sales of minicars in Korea drop 14% in January

Sales of minicars in Korea drop 14% in January

Sales of minicars in Korea dropped sharply in January from a year ago due to a continued fall in oil prices and local motorists’ penchant for bigger cars or sports utility vehicles, industry sources said Thursday.

Last month, sales of minicars sank 14.1 percent from a year earlier despite carmakers’ aggressive marketing such as discounts of more than 1 million won ($831) per unit. The January figure represented a 42.6 percent plunge from the previous month.

The sources, however, failed to disclose the number of units shipped last month.

For all of 2015, 173,418 minicars were sold in the country, down more than 13,000 cars from the 186,702 cars sold in 2014.

Cars with an engine capacity of less than 1,000 cc are classified as minicars.

Industry watchers said the government’s recent decision to extend a consumption tax cut program for passenger cars will likely have a negative impact on sales of city cars.

Since no consumption tax is imposed on minicars, the extension may encourage people to purchase bigger cars, they added.

The popularity of minicars has been on the wane since 2013. The portion of city cars in total vehicle sales dropped from 11.9 percent in 2013 to 11.3 percent in 2014 and 9.5 percent last year.

An industry source said both the government and motorists are not paying much attention to minicars, which are eco-friendly with high fuel efficiency and less emission of pollutants.

“The share of minicars is still high in the European and Japanese markets, so the government needs to take measures to boost the local minicar market in order to protect the environment,” he said.


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