Toyota drives hybrid car sales push with new Prius

Toyota drives hybrid car sales push with new Prius

Top Japanese automaker Toyota will push for sales of its hybrids lineup with the launch of the all-new Prius hybrid, setting a goal of lifting the proportion of hybrid car sales to 50 percent from its current 32 percent in Korea.

While launching the fourth-generation Prius in Seoul, Toyota Korea CEO Akihisa Yoshida said, “We aim to increase the portion of hybrid car sales to more than 50 percent — from 32 percent of last year — in the Korean auto market this year.”

The CEO also revealed the company plans to sell a total of 8,500 Toyota cars in Korea this year. Included in this number are around 2,000 units of the fourth-generation Prius.

Industry watchers said the 2016 sales goal of Toyota, which is a dominant player in the local hybrid vehicle market, is a somewhat bold one, considering growing competition from Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor, which unveiled its green car lineup under the name of Ioniq early this year. Hyundai debuted its compact Ioniq hybrid sedan in January and an electric version of Ioniq in March.

The fourth-generation Prius, which started receiving preorders in the day, is nearly 10 million won ($8,600) more expensive than Hyundai’s Ioniq Hybrid. Prius’ premium S model is priced at 38 million won and its general E model is 32 million won. Ioniq Hybrid’s Q trim costs 27 million won. Its N trim is set at 24 million won and the I trim is 22 million won.

In terms of fuel economy, Prius displays a higher city mileage and lower highway mileage compared to its Korean rival. Prius’ combined fuel efficiency is 21.9 kilometers per liter, with 22.6 kilometers per liter in city mileage and 21 kilometers per liter on the highway. Hyundai Ioniq’s combined fuel efficiency is 22.4 kilometers per liter, with 22.5 kilometers per liter in the city and 22.2 kilometers per liter in highway mileage.

CEO Yoshida, however, welcomed Hyundai’s latest move toward green cars, mentioning the expansion of the market base for hybrid cars.

“Hybrid cars take up only 4 percent of the total imported cars here while diesel cars have more than 70 percent market share,” he said.

“(Hyundai’s move) is a good sign to create a boom in the entire hybrid car sales in Korea.”
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