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Hyundai Targets Hybrid Launch in India by 2026

The group, which includes Hyundai Motor and Kia, is considering a hybrid SUV of a similar size to its best-selling mid-sized Creta SUV in India.

Hyundai Motor Group is reportedly planning to introduce its inaugural hybrid cars in India as soon as 2026, according to three sources. This move signifies a strategic shift for the South Korean automotive conglomerate as it seeks to expand beyond electric vehicles and strengthen its foothold in a crucial automotive market.

The group, which encompasses Hyundai Motor and Kia, is contemplating a hybrid sport-utility vehicle comparable in size to its top-selling mid-sized Creta SUV in India, as per two sources with firsthand knowledge of the plans.

Both Hyundai, India’s second-largest automaker, and Kia are aiming to launch hybrid SUVs in 2026 or 2027, the two sources revealed, adding that their EV plans for India are also progressing as planned.

In a statement, Hyundai Motor Group informed Reuters of its commitment to an “electrified mobility future” and its intention to optimize product strategies for each market.

The shift towards hybrids, which utilize a gasoline powertrain and an electric motor, is driven by Hyundai’s observation of a sales surge for this technology in India. This has prompted the company to deviate from its initial strategy that solely focused on battery electric vehicles.

Hyundai and Kia, which currently only sell gasoline and diesel cars and imported EVs such as the IONIQ 5 and EV6, are working towards launching their first domestically manufactured EVs in the world’s third-largest car market in 2025.

However, due to high prices and insufficient charging infrastructure, EV sales have been slow to gain traction, prompting the company to consider hybrids as an “interim strategy”, one of the sources stated.

“Hyundai possesses the hybrid technology in other markets. It has now initiated work on adapting that technology for cars in India to mainstream it,” the source said, noting that the recent surge in consumer demand and acceptance of hybrids prompted this shift.

In 2023, total car sales in India exceeded 4 million, with EVs accounting for over 2 percent. Hybrids, spearheaded by Toyota Motor, are gradually catching up, with a market share of 2 percent.

Hyundai is intensifying its focus on India, where it plans a $3-billion IPO, amidst a production cutback in China following years of losses there, and having sold its two Russian plants.

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisun Chung discussed mid- and long-term strategies for India, including EV and hybrid plans, during his second visit to the country last week in less than a year.


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