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Beginning with the introduction of a hybrid Hyundai Elantra in its home market of Korea, Hyundai Motors has big plans for hybrid cars. The first hybrid that the Korean automaker will launch in the United States will be based on its mid-sized Sonata platform and will do battle with hybrid versions of the Toyota Camry, Saturn Aura and Chevy Malibu, competitors it goes up against in the non-hybridized realm already. The Sonata hybrid model will be introduced at the upcoming LA Auto Show. According

Hyundai will release its first hybrid vehicle for sale to the general public in 2009, as long as the general public in question lives in Korea. Though the automaker has been testing hybrids for the last few years, only government officials were able to drive the vehicles. According to Hyundai, though, none of the research and development costs for its hybrid drivetrain were paid for through government grants. This information seems much more important after Mark Fields' recent assertion that the

Hyundai may be delaying the release of their hybrid and fuel cells vehicles. An unnamed Hyundai official told Reuters that Hyundai will mass-produce a Hybrid Elantra through its Kia unit in 2010 and mass produce a fuel cell vehicle starting in 2012 (2015 at the latest). Recently, we reported Hyundai would produce hybrids in 2008, and 2009 and have fuel cell volume sales by 2010 and begin mass sales in 2015. Volume, mass production, and release dates are squishy numbers (companies often say 2007-

Just because Hyundai thinks that diesels are a better option than hybrids, it doesn't mean they aren't hedging their bets. In the car business as with others if you want to succeed you have to offer customers what they want to buy. That's why carmakers have been churning out as many different SUVs as possible for the past decade and a half. It's also why everyone is now developing hybrids.