Hyundai needs government help to compete with the Japanese on hybirds

2010 is the year that hybrids will become the "market standard", according to Kim Min-jin, chief of Hyundai Motor's hybrid research lab and senior vice president of Hyundai. In order to catch up with Japanese automakers in hybrid technology, Hyundai has asked the Korean government to give subsidies to Korean hybrid manufacturers and purchasers. The Korea Times says that Korean car companies are about 10 years behind the Japanese automakers in hybrid technology. Both the Japanese and U.S. governments subsidize hybrid cars.
Hyundai introduced its first hybrid, the Click Hybrid, in 2004 and so far has 780 in use with government agencies. The car is not available to the public. Hyundai will send about 3,400 more Click Hybrids to the government by 2008 and will then, "launch a new vehicle that is superior to Japanese cars in both price and performance,'' Kim said.

[Source: The Korea Times / Cho Jin-seo]

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