In recent months, it seems that South Korean buyers have been increasingly less enamored with hybrid vehicles... at least when it comes to buying them. In February, nationwide sales of hybrids dipped to only 591 units, a mere 0.5 percent market share.
Last week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Kia showed off a hybrid version of its new 2011 Sorento powered by a twin turbocharged diesel engine displacing 1.6 liters mated up to a dual clutch gearbox. While the Korean automaker didn't give any official indication that the powertrain could make it to production, an unnamed source reportedly told Autocar in the U.K.:
In addition to the production version of Kia's new Venga and ECO-dynamics range of automobiles, the Korean automaker has announced plans to show off two new concept vehicles, each with a different hybrid powertrain. First up is the cee'd Hybrid, which will pair a 1.6-liter four cylinder engine running on gasoline to a powertrain very similar to the recently-released Forte LPI Hybrid that will also be in attendance.
Kia Borrego FCEV - Click above for high-res image gallery
Kia Forte LPI hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery
Kia is not a brand most people think of as being on the cutting edge of alternative drivetrain technology, especially in the U.S. market. Here they are mostly thought of as a purveyor of inexpensive, decent but not outstanding cars. However we can't forget that Kia is a part of Hyundai and that brand has consistently ranked in the top three in CAFE rankings for the last several years, along with Toyota and Honda. That's without even having a hybrid, diesel or flex-fuel vehicle in the lineup. Tog
Kia is said to be set to show off a hybrid version of its cee'd hatchback, which is available in many countries that are not named the United States. This isn't the first hybrid that the Korean automaker has developed; the hybrid Rio gets that honor. In the past, Kia officials have indicated that it will unveil a hybrid Elantra for its home market sometime in 2009. Following a year later will be a hybrid version of its Sonata mid-sizer, which we are expected to see at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show
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 a
Kia comes to Geneva with three new vehicles in tow. The cee'd will be available for the first time in final production-ready form and Kia also has "a striking new concept car, which will indicate the options open to its European design and manufacturing bases." We'd like to know more, but we'll have to wait a while for all that.