Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest automaker, will discontinue the production of diesel versions of four car models whose sales have remained sluggish and will focus more on hybrid and electric vehicles that have been gaining popularity.
The automaker said Thursday that it will stop producing the diesel models of Grandeur full-size sedan, Sonata mid-size sedan, i30 hatchback and Maxcruz sport utility vehicle as of Friday. Buyers will still be able to buy the cars remaining in the stock.
Its decision reportedly comes from the models’ sluggish sales results over the recent years. Diesel models of Grandeur and Sonata sedans contributed a mere 6 percent and 2 percent, respectively, to total sales last year. Also, the overall sales of i30 and Maxcruz cars have been too low, making it inefficient to produce diesel models, the company explained.
Diesel cars had been popular for higher fuel efficiency and cheaper fuel costs than gasoline cars although they are generally priced more expensive than gasoline models. But with the growing popularity of electric cars such as hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, diesel cars have lost appeal.
Interest over environmentally friendly cars have been growing fast in line with the world’s movement to implement stricter environmental protection rules and rising global oil prices, said a Hyundai Motor official, adding that the company’s discontinuation decision is to keep up with the latest changes in the market.
Meanwhile, Kia Motors Corp., smaller sibling of Hyundai Motor reportedly does not have any immediate plan of discontinuing its diesel models.
By Kang Young-woon and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]