Hyundai To Mass-Produce Hybrids

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

With Toyota set to begin selling hybrids in South Korea this year, Hyundai is fighting back by announcing it will begin mass-producing its own hybrids. Donga reports that the announcement of a liquid petroleum gas (LPG/LNG)-electric hybrid and gas-electric hybrid versions of the Avante (Elantra) sedan coincided with Chairman Chung Mong-koo's visit to a Kia factory over the weekend. The automaker has already provided hybrid cars to the Korean government, but this announcement heralds Hyundai's first attempt to go after the commercial market. The LPG-hybrid will be available in 2009, followed by a standard hybrid and larger LPG-hybrid models in 2010. Also planned are fuel-cell models to go on sale in 2012. No word yet on whether these models will be available in the States, but since Hyundai cites the projected million-unit hybrid market of 2010 as rationale for this move, one has to assume that we'll be seeing these gas-sippers at some point.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Johnson Johnson on Mar 24, 2008

    Interesting. So by 2009/2010 Hyundai will have hybrids in Korea? Let's hope that actually ends up being true. According to Hyundai execs, we won't see Hyundai hybrids in North America until 2012 at the earliest. Seeing as Toyota has had over a decade of experience with hybrids, and spent billions of dollars and years for R&D, Hyudai will have an uphill battle to climb with hybrids. I'm surprised it's taking this long for Hyundai to come out with hybrids. Then again, it's not easy to copy a hybrid design or to make it cheap. Hyundai has been successful in copying Toyota as a company, and Hyundai sells cars mainly based on value. It will be interesting to see how Hyundai's hybrids compare to Toyota's hybrids, and what the price will be.