South Korea’s biggest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. will accelerate inroads into the European market through signature hybrid and full-electric vehicles in the second half.
According to industry sources, Kia next month ships out its first-ever dedicated hybrid compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) Niro released in Korea in March to Europe.
The Niro has led green car wave in the local auto market as its sales reached 2,440 units in April and 2,676 units in May. Kia is expected to start to sell the Niro in France and the Netherlands next month and then Germany and Britain in September. Kia is said to have turned out 2,289 units of the Niro for shipment to 12 countries across Europe.
Kia’s Niro was unveiled at a popular French auto show “Automoto” viewed by about 20 million people. It is unusual for the program to introduce a car before its launch, said an unnamed Kia Motor official said, adding the Niro’s specifications and driving performance were mainly covered at the French auto show.
Hyundai Motor Co. is also readying to compete against its rivals in the European green car market, with its dedicated IONIQ Hybrid debuting in Europe in September. The IONIQ Hybrid boats a fuel efficiency of 22.4 kilometers per liter, higher than that of the Prius, the flagship hybrid model of Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corp. that has been leading the world’s hybrid car market. The Korean car giant is also expected to launch the IONIQ’s fully electric version in the European market sometime during the latter half. The IONIQ Electric, to begin mass-production this month, boasts a longer driving range than any other electric vehicles sold at home. It pledges to run 118.68 miles (191 kilometers) on average on a single charge.
By Noh Won-myung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]