Kia’s Sportage SUV / Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
By Baek Byung-yeul
C-segment or compact sport utility vehicles are gaining ground in Korea’s automobile market as their dimensions have grown close to those of medium-sized SUVs.
Data released on Sunday showed that the country’s five automakers ― Hyundai Motor, Kia, GM Korea, Renault Samsung and SsangYong Motor ― sold a total of 49,495 compact SUVs, including Hyundai’s Tucson and Kia’s Sportage, during the July-September period, becoming the top sales segment here.
The sales performance nearly doubled compared to the same period of 2020, when a total of 25,356 compact SUVs were sold.
Industry analysts said that the rising popularity of compact SUVs can be attributed to the introduction of new vehicles in the segment.
Kia launched the new generation of the Sportage SUV in July and sold 14,036 of them during the third quarter. The sales figure jumped around 250 percent from the same period last year when only 4,007 Sportage SUVs were sold. Hyundai also sold 9,886 Tucson SUVs in the third quarter, up 78.3 percent quarter-on-quarter.
Hyundai Motor Group’s new electric vehicles (EVs) ― the Hyundai IONIQ5 and the Kia EV6, which are also categorized as compact SUVs ― also contributed to the soaring popularity of the segment, reaching sales of 9,767 and 4,564, respectively.
Another reason why the compact SUVs have become popular seems to be that their dimensions have grown as large as those of mid-sized SUVs.
The wheelbase of the new Sportage is 2,755 millimeters long, increased by 85 millimeters over the previous model.
The Sportage’s wheelbase is not much different from that of Hyundai Motor’s mid-sized SUV, the Santa Fe, at 2,765 millimeters, and the measurement is longer than that of Renault Samsung’s mid-sized SUV, QM6, at 2,705 millimeters.
Given the fact that the wheelbase refers to the distance between the front and rear wheels, the longer wheelbase indicates that consumers are more attracted to a larger indoor space.
“Compact SUVs are becoming a preferred choice for consumers who prefer to have relatively large-sized SUVs at affordable prices,” an official in the car industry said, adding that the on-going popularity of compact SUVs will continue for the time being.Internet Explorer Channel Network