November 7, 2006

Hyundai requests Korean government subsidies for hybrids

Seoul, South Korea – Hyundai Motor’s head of hybrid research has requested that the South Korean government give subsidies to manufacturers and buyers of hybrid cars, because Korean companies are about ten years behind Japanese manufacturers, according to a report by the Green Car Congress, quoting Korea Times.

According to the report, Kim Min-jin, Senior Vice-President of Hyundai Motor, said that “hybrid cars will become a market standard after 2010 and that financial support from the government is desperately needed for Korean automakers to commercialize their vehicles in time.” Kim said that “we cannot make a profit in hybrid cars because imported parts, such as batteries, are too expensive. Cost is the largest obstacle to their commercialization.”

Kim also said the Japanese government supports about half of the additional cost in manufacturing hybrid cars, while in the U.S., the federal government offers buyers tax deductions on hybrid vehicles.

Hyundai introduced its first hybrid, the Click/Getz Hybrid, in 2004, and last year showed a mild hybrid Accent. It has provided 780 Click Hybrid cars to various government agencies and will deliver 3,390 more units to the government by 2008, but so far, there is no plan for commercial sales.

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