SEOUL — South Korea’s Hyundai Motor on Thursday unveiled its first dedicated gasoline-electric vehicle, becoming one of a handful of automakers to challenge Toyota Motor’s Prius as low oil prices weigh on demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Hyundai Motor Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang said automakers had no choice but to boost green car sales to meet stringent emissions regulations, despite slackening demand as low petrol prices spur the market for gas-guzzling vehicles.
“Oil prices could reduce hybrid car sales. But this is the way we have to go,” Lee told reporters.
Hyundai said the compact car, named the IONIQ, achieved fuel economy of 22.4 kms per liter, or 52.7 miles per gallon, in Korea. It would be rolled out in mid-January in its home market at a starting price of about 22.9 million won (US$19,145).