Hyundai and Kia go it alone to strengthen eco-friendly, luxury car operation

Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., South Korea’s two largest carmakers, are stepping up their eco-friendly and luxury vehicle operations as rivals from India and China try to catch up in the global market through mergers with established players, industry watchers said Friday. The South Korean companies, flagships of Hyundai Motor Group, have become the world’s fifth-largest manufacturers with combined sales expected to reach 8 million units this year. They, however, remain on the fringes in the eco-friendly vehicles and high value-added luxury car markets that have grown the most in recent years.

Both car makers have released hybrid cars in the past, but they have not been able to wrestle buyers away from Japanese rivals like the Toyota Leaf hybrid. Hyundai released the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicle this year, with Kia taking similar steps with the Soul electric vehicle (EV). Yet, it will take time to determine if they are a success.

For full article, see Korea Times.

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Hybrid car market heating up

2013_07_hybridThe local hybrid market has been dominated by a handful of automakers, but the scene is expected to change with the launch of new models equipped with a diesel engine in the latter half of the year. They will boast a better driving performance and higher fuel efficiency than conventional diesel engine or gasoline-engine hybrid vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz Korea has recently announced it will launch the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid Avantgarde in August, which will be the first hybrid car with a diesel engine here. “The new E-Class also introduces, as the first vehicle in the market, a highly advanced diesel hybrid drive,” Mercedes-Benz Korea CEO Britta Seeger said during the launch event of new E-Class sedan here at Blue Square in Hannam-dong, Seoul on June 24. “This is the most advanced drive train technology, which no other competitor can currently match.”

For full article, see Korea Times.