Seoul, South Korea – Greenpeace Korea activists interrupted the opening ceremony of the 2019 Seoul Motor Show demanding that Korean car makers end the age of oil.

“Korean automakers are still focusing on the production of dirty, polluting, fossil-fueled cars like diesel and gasoline, and have no concrete plans to shift towards a zero-emission business model. They need to prioritise people’s wellbeing over profit and take responsibility for preventing catastrophic climate change,” said Jiseok Kim, Climate and Energy Specialist at Greenpeace Korea.

The activists displayed a large banner with the slogan: “We can’t tackle climate change if only 0.2% of vehicles are zero emission. The Oil Age is Ending”. The logos of the top five Korean car makers including Hyundai, Kia, SsangYong, Chevrolet (GM Korea), and Renault Samsung were displayed on the banner. Hyundai and Kia account for 8% of the global market share.

According to a study published last year by Greenpeace Belgium and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), it is necessary to stop the production and sales of all internal combustion engines, including conventional hybrids, by 2028 if we are to prevent climate disasters and limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. However, among the 23.2 million cars registered in South Korea, the number of electric and hydrogen cars are 25,756 and 893 respectively, which account for only 0.2% of the total.

Based on 2018 statistics from the Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association, zero-emission car sales as a percentage of total sales were 2.2% for Hyundai, 0.8% for Kia, 4.2% for GM Korea and 1.6% for Renault Samsung. SsangYong does not have a zero-emission car model.[1]

“The theme of the 2019 Seoul Motor Show is sustainable mobility. If car manufacturers truly want to show leadership in the industry they must implement a detailed plan to transition to zero-emission cars that can be recharged with renewable sources such as solar and wind power,” said Kim.

Since 2016, Greenpeace has been campaigning for Ford, Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, and other automakers to stop the production of fossil fueled cars. Last year, Volkswagen publicly announced that it will stop the sales of fossil fuel cars by 2040.

Greenpeace Korea will launch a campaign to encourage domestic manufacturers such as Hyundai, Kia, Renault Samsung, GM Korea and Ssangyong to stop production of internal combustion engines and transition to renewable energy-based zero-emission vehicles.


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[1] Domestic zero-emission vehicle sales in 2018 calculated based on publicly available statistics by the Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA)


Insung Lee Greenpeace Korea Climate&Energy Campaigner, [email protected], +82 10-8904-5954

Ji Won Hyun Greenpeace Korea Communications Officer, [email protected], +82 10-6397-2716

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), [email protected]

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