Hyundai Planning Raft of Hybrids

March 23, 2008

Hyundai says it will become the next manufacturer to produce a range of hybrid vehicles.

While the Korean car company is busying itself building Sonata sedans in Alabama, and working on a new engine plant nearby, along with a Kia manufacturing facility in neighboring Georgia, it also tells the Wall Street Journal it's planning on launching a hybrid model called the "Avante," starting next year.

The Avante, the Journal says, is to be followed by a mid-size hybrid vehicle by 2010. And by 2012, Hyundai says it will be producing fuel-cell-powered cars, according to the paper.

Hyundai has been producing hybrids since 2004 for use by government agencies, the Journal adds. Worldwide demand for hybrids could reach 1 million units in 2010, Hyundai estimates.

The Avante is expected to be a version of the new Hyundai Elantra, which is due for a major model makeover in the 2009 model year.

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