SEOUL, March 17 (Yonhap) — Sales of electric vehicles in South Korea nose-dived more than 45 percent in the first two months of the year amid a lack of subsidy policies and customer expectations for rollouts of new models, data showed Wednesday.

A total of 2,444 EVs were sold in Asia’s fourth-largest economy in the January-February period, down 45.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the industry ministry and carmakers.

Sales of Hyundai Motor Co.’s Kona EV sank more than 29 percent on-year to 175 units, and shipments of Kia Motor’s Corp.’s Niro EV shrank 12.1 percent to 254.

Renault Samsung Motors Corp. sold only 48 ZOE all-electric cars, and sales of GM Korea’s Bolt EV came to a mere 43.

This photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co. on March 17, 2021, shows its Kona electric vehicle. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

  Sales of imported EVs plunged 80.4 percent on-year to 348 units during the two-month period.

Tesla Motors Inc., which led explosive growth in EV imports last year, sold a mere 38 EVs during the period, down 97.6 percent from a year earlier, despite its debut of the Model Y in February.

Industry watchers said local customers have been reluctant to purchase EVs this year due to delayed government decisions on subsidies and camakers’ planned launches of new models.

The central government finalized its policy on subsidies for EV purchasers in late January, and local administrations made their subsidy decisions in late February.

In addition, customer expectations have been high for new EV models that Hyundai Motor and other automakers are slated to roll out down the road.

Late last month, top automaker Hyundai Motor unveiled its IONIQ 5 all-electric model, whose preorders reached 35,000 units for the first week. The midsize crossover utility vehicle is scheduled to roll out during the second quarter.

Kia Motors, Hyundai Motor’s smaller affiliate, and foreign carmakers have also announced their plans to launch new EV models in the coming months.

This photo provided by Tesla Motors Inc. on March 17, 2021, shows its electric vehicle Model Y. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)