Will Ssangyong Be First To Offer Production Diesel Hybrid?
Automotive News [sub] reports that Chinese-owned Korean automaker Ssangyong has announced plans to offer the first production diesel-hybrid powertrain on the market come 2010. The hybrid technology was developed in Korea, and will be mated to a Mercedes-sourced 2.7 liter diesel engine and offered in the Merc ML-based Rexton SUV. We reported earlier that European manufacturers were the first to show near-production diesel-hybrids, but the Asian upstart looks set to beat them to the market. Of course these plans don't preclude a Citroen-like reversal, but then Ssangyong isn't dependent on government development funds. Don't expect the powertrain to appear stateside though, as Ssangyong tells Reuters that it has no plans to bring any of its vehicles to the United States. The firm is focusing on the European, Korean and Chinese markets, blaming "market conditions" (read: sagging demand and a weakening dollar) for preventing it from becoming the first firm to offer Chinese-built cars in the states.
Be glad they aren't coming... It may actually be a good thing for them also. The vehicles are hideous.