The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET), a state-run South Korean think tank, said this past week that South Korea will enter the hybrid car market in a big way in 2011 and then continue to play a big role in the global hybrid market. As you can guess from the links below, there has been movement in this direction for a while, especially by Hyundai/Kia, but Asia Pulse
said that earlier reports were hinting at a 2010 start date. KIET cited the added cost of making hybrids as the reason for the later date.
gave these numbers for Korea's domestic hybrid production:
- 500,000 by 2015
- 1.8 million by 2020 (exporting 70 percent)
What vehicles these hybrid drivetrains will be put into is of course unknown at this point. Adding more than a million hybrids a year to the global marketplace will certainly help drivers use less gas (vs. driving standard vehicles), but Korean companies may want to rethink the delayed target date. Thirteen years is a long time to wait for the small MPG gains most hybrids deliver.
[Source: EDTA / Asia Pulse]