Seoul, South Korea – Only 591 hybrids from all automakers were sold in South Korea in February, while Hyundai reported sales of 18,704 SUVs, according to a report by the Green Car Congress.

Hybrids represented only 0.5 per cent of the total Korean new-vehicle market in February, down from 0.6 per cent in January.

Hybrid models sold in Korea include the Hyundai Avante Hybrid, which sold 266 units in February 2010, down from a high of 1,000 vehicles at its debut in July 2008; the Kia Forte Hybrid, which sold 78 units in January 2010; and the Toyota Prius, which sold 54 units in February 2010. Most other foreign brand hybrids sold fewer than ten vehicles.

The report said that relatively high prices for hybrids are to blame for poor sales, despite a tax incentive equivalent to US$2,630 for buyers of gasoline-electric vehicles.

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