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Hyundai, Kia hybrids delayed until 2009

Hyundai and Kia have postponed the launch of hybrid versions of their Verna and Pride vehicles until 2009. Hyundai and Kia spokespeople say that the cars, which were originally due in 2007, won't be big enough moneymakers to justify putting them on the market. Company officials are also a little concerned at the prospect of government aid to subsidize the losses incurred by the company through product development -- evidently, there is a risk that lowering the prices of the hybrids after receiving state funds could trigger a petition to the World Trade Organization, dunking the car companies in more legal hot water.

The Korean government isn't happy about the delay, however, citing an ever-widening hybrid technology gap between its homegrown auto manufacturers and Japanese companies such as Toyota.

[Source: The Korean Times]

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