Hyundai to Enter Hybrid Battle in 2009

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(Seoul, Korea) Hyundai Motor Company plans to mass produce Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV’s) from next year, starting a new era for environmentally-friendly cars.

Hyundai Chairman, Chung Mong Koo, recently announced to South Korean President, Lee Myung Bak, that the automobile company will mass produce environmentally-friendly cars from 2009. He said that this would to create new jobs and develop the industry into a next-generation value-adding growth engine.

 “The importance of developing futuristic, environmentally-friendly cars is increasing for sustainable growth,” Chairman Chung said. “Therefore, technology for advanced cars, like the hybrid, is imperative. We also plan to produce a small fleet of fuel cell electric vehicles from 2012.”

To meet its 2009 mass production target, Hyundai’s step-by-step plan is to:

  • Develop Technology
  • Create a mass production system
  • Expand the model line-up

In accordance with this plan, Hyundai will begin its first mass production with the Elantra LPI (Liquefied Petroleum Injection) hybrid, a car that uses both electricity and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). In 2010, Hyundai plans to introduce mid-sized hybrids that use gasoline and LPG.

Currently, Hyundai provides Accent hybrid models to government agencies as part of a pilot project. The plan is to expand the line-up to mid-sized sedans and beyond for mass production, starting from 2009.

Hyundai entered the environmentally-friendly auto market in October 2004, when it supplied the South-Korean government with 50 Getz hybrid vehicles. Since then, Hyundai and Kia have supplied the government with 350 hybrid cars in 2005, including the Accent model. This number increased to 730 cars in 2006 and 1,682 cars in 2007, totaling about 2,800 cars so far.

Based on the technology accumulated from producing these cars, Hyundai will on a mass scale produce hybrid cars that use LPG, which creates less pollution than conventional cars. Hyundai is also kicking its development plans into gear with the aim to mass produce Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV) beginning 2012.

Hyundai plans to expand a demo fleet of FCEV’s to 500 units by 2010, including mid-to-large size SUV’s, then establish a small production system to begin mass production from 2012.

The mass production of hybrid cars in 2009 will be a turning point for Hyundai, which will increase its competitiveness in the environmentally-friendly car sector, an area automakers worldwide are counting on for their strategic survival in the next-generation.