South Korea’s Hyundai Kia Automotive Group declared it is going to win the new battle over fuel efficiency with its hybrid model. The Korean motor group has come up with a strategy to enhance its image as an eco-friendly business with its new hybrid model as it is already in compliance with recently tightened mileage standards in the United States.
According to newly released U.S. mileage standards on Tuesday, the average mileage of vehicles on US roads will be raised to 54.5mpg (23.0km per liter) by 2025. All automakers that sell cars in the US will have to increase the current 27.3mpg level as of 2009 to 35.5mpg (15.0km per liter) by 2016. Then they must keep raising it to higher levels by 2025.
Hyundai Motor Company has been producing cars with an average mileage of 35.7mpg until the first half this year. Hyundai cars’ average mileage already exceeds the new goal of the US government.
“Since Hyundai Motor builds a number of vehicles with high fuel efficiency including its hybrid models, it seems that the company has already gained advantages in the renewed US auto market with higher mileage standards in comparison with others,” auto experts said.
In reality, Hyundai and Kia’s hybrid cars are getting a positive reaction from the American auto market.
Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid, officially released in the US this April, saw a 25% month-on-month jump in sales in July by selling 1,780 units. The model sold 1,422 units in June, outperforming Honda’s Insight Hybrid (1,201 units) and Ford’s Fusion Hybrid (969 units), and swiftly rising to the top of the US hybrid car market. Hyundai’s new launch placed second in sales for the environment-friendly category, outranked only by Toyota’s Prius, which has long cemented its name as a symbol of environmental awareness.
Kia’s K5 Hybrid (dubbed Optima Hybrid in the US) is also on a sturdy sales trajectory since its release in June, rising from 103 unit sales to 300 units in July.
Hyundai and Kia’s newest hybrids are well-tailored to the US market, as they respond to consumer desires for mid-sized hybrids instead of compact cars, explained experts.
“Through fuel-efficient, high-function hybrid models that adhere to new US fuel standards, we will revamp our brand image and build reputation as a leading environment-friendly carmaker in the US,” vowed officials of the Korean auto giants.
[Written by Seung-hoon Lee - Su-hyun Hong, Samji Chung / edited by Soyoung Chung]
[ⓒ Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]