Hyundai & Kia To Bring Hybrids To US Next Year

Hyundai was not expected to bring hybrid vehicles to the US until after 2007, but the schedule for their introduction to North-America was moved up. Korean hybrids should be available late in 2006. The expected models are redesigned versions of the Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio. A hybrid version of these cars are already being produced in Korea, but only in very small quantities (in the hundreds). Larger hybrids won't come from these automakers until 2008 or the beginning of 2009. The hybrid exports to the US seem more like an experiment than anything else: "The number that we ship to the United States will be very few, to see the reaction, I don't think we can make a profit with hybrids in the United States," said Lee Hyun Soon. No overflowing enthusiasm, but then again, Toyota didn't expect the Prius to sell this well either. I'm curious to know what kind of hybrid powertrain will be used; "assist" like Honda or "full" like Toyota.

::AutoWeek, via ::Green Car Congress