Hyundai Hybrids Set for India? Unveiling the Motive Behind the Move

Hyundai Hybrids Set for India? Unveiling the Motive Behind the Move

New Delhi. Hyundai Motor Group has disclosed plans to introduce its inaugural hybrid vehicles in India by as early as 2026, as it broadens its focus beyond electric vehicles to bolster its presence in a crucial automotive market, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Hyundai Motor and Kia, both under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella, are reportedly examining the development of a hybrid sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with dimensions akin to their best-selling mid-sized Creta SUV in India. This insight comes from two sources with direct knowledge of the group's strategies.

The Shift in Strategy

Hyundai, the country's second-largest automaker, and Kia are targeting a rollout of hybrid SUVs either in 2026 or 2027, as revealed by the aforementioned sources. Additionally, they noted that the companies' electric vehicle (EV) plans for India remain on course.

In response to queries, Hyundai Motor Group conveyed to Reuters its steadfast commitment "to a future of electrified mobility and will optimise product strategies for each market."

Hyundai to Bring Hybrid Tech in India

The source emphasised that Hyundai already possesses hybrid technology in other markets and has initiated adaptation work to tailor this technology for Indian vehicles, aiming for broader market acceptance.

India's automotive landscape witnessed over 4 million car sales in 2023, with EVs accounting for slightly more than 2 percent of total sales. In contrast, hybrids, with Toyota Motor at the forefront, are gradually gaining ground, constituting around 2 percent of the market share.

Rising Demand for Hybrids in India

This pivot towards hybrids, which utilise a combination of gasoline powertrains and electric motors, aligns with Hyundai's observation of an uptick in hybrid technology sales in India. This surge has prompted the group to veer away from its initial focus solely on battery electric vehicles.

Hyundai and Kia, presently offering gasoline and diesel cars alongside imported EVs such as the IONIQ 5 and EV6, are actively preparing to launch their first locally manufactured EVs in India, slated for 2025.

Despite these efforts, electric vehicle sales have faced sluggish growth due to factors like high pricing and an inadequate charging infrastructure. This circumstance has driven Hyundai to view hybrids as an "interim strategy," as revealed by one of the sources.

Fuel Efficiency Focus

Rising fuel prices are a major concern for Indian consumers. Hybrids, with their combination of electric motors and gasoline engines, offer significantly better fuel efficiency compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. This economic benefit is proving attractive to many drivers.

Gap Between EVs and Hybrids

While interest in EVs is high, challenges like limited charging infrastructure and higher upfront costs remain. Hybrids offer a bridge, providing better fuel economy without the range anxiety associated with EVs.

Hyundai's Hybrid Play

Hyundai Motor Group, a major player in the Indian car market, is reportedly considering launching hybrid vehicles. This move aligns with the growing demand for fuel-efficient options.  The success of existing hybrid models from Maruti Suzuki and Toyota further strengthens the case for hybrids in India.

Looking Ahead

The entry of a major automaker like Hyundai  could significantly boost the hybrid market in India. As infrastructure improves and consumer awareness grows, hybrids have the potential to become a significant force in India's journey towards greener transportation.


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