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SOUTH KOREA: Hybrids to get government incentive boost

By just-auto.com editorial team | 15 March 2005

The government will offer a wide range of administrative supports and tax benefits to buyers of hybrid cars to promote the use of more eco-friendly vehicles, the Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) said, according to the Korea Times.

"The government plans to give attractive financial incentives to drivers of hybrid cars,'' a ministry official told the paper. "Basically, hybrid car owners will be able to get the same level of benefits as mini-car owners."

The official told the Korea Times that hybrid car owners will enjoy various tax benefits at the time of purchase and will also get a 50% discount at tollgates and pay less insurance than owners of petrol vehicles. In the long term, he added, the government expects hybrid cars to replace petrol vehicles and automobile policies are being adjusted to meet those expectations.

Ministry officials reportedly said the MOCT is consulting with relevant government agencies to seek ways of expanding the use of hybrid vehicles. They plan to set a mandate for public offices and state-run organisations to buy hybrids instead of petrol-powered vehicles from this year.

The Korea Times noted that Hyundai Motor in October provided 50 hybrid versions of Click mini-cars to the government for testing. Hyundai earlier said it plans to begin sale of hybrids in 2007, but the ministry wants the timing moved up.

"Mass production of hybrid cars is scheduled to begin late next year. Their consumer prices may be set higher than petrol cars, but the gap will be reduced gradually,'' a Hyundai official reportedly said.