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Hyundai Motor delays China launch of Sonata hybrid amid THAAD row

All Headlines 10:14 February 08, 2017

SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's leading automaker Hyundai Motor Co. has reportedly postponed the launch of its Sonata plug-in hybrid in China by nearly a year, company official said Wednesday, due to what many believe is China's trade retaliation against the planned deployment of a U.S. air missile defense system to South Korea.

The new Sonata plug-in was originally expected to be introduced in the Chinese market in April.

Company officials said the car will likely be launched in February 2018.

The Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid (Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor)

Such a long delay comes after the Chinese government refused to certify South Korea-made batteries, in turn disqualifying South Korean electric cars with such batteries from government subsidies.

Hyundai Motor officials said the company was working to replace South Korean batteries in the new Sonata EV to ones made in China, a move that could take nearly a year as it also requires a partial change in the vehicle design itself.

China is believed to be using its trade restrictions against South Korean products as a way of expressing its opposition against the planned deployment of the U.S. missile defense system, the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense or THAAD, to South Korea.

Beijing has also recently blocked shipments of many South Korean cosmetics products, according to earlier reports.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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