2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery
In mid-October, Hyundai announced that its 2011 Sonata Hybrid would be eligible for a $1,300 tax credit. The electrified midsize sedan was scheduled to hit dealerships in late 2010 and the first 60,000 buyers in line to plop down some cash for the Sonata Hybrid would've pocketed that credit. However, there was a hitch: the Sonata Hybrid was delayed, dashing any chance of snagging the $1,300 credit.
What caused the delay? Well, according to Hyundai chief executive officer John Krafcik, a last-minute modification to the vehicle's "virtual engine sound" system, made "amazingly late in the process" was the culprit. The automaker initially developed the Sonata Hybrid with a feature that would allow drivers to disable the vehicle's pedestrian warning system, but after the Senate and House voted to approve a measure requiring hybrids and plug-in vehicles to automatically emit audible sounds at low speeds, Hyundai's manual disable functionality had to be axed.
According to Green Car Reports, that modification required changes to the vehicle's wiring harnesses, user-interface software and owner's manual, which caused the lengthy delay. Hyundai delivered the first 2011 Sonata Hybrid in January.