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Hyundai Kona part of carmaker's plan to bolster SUV lineup

All Headlines 10:44 June 13, 2017

GOYANG, South Korea, June 13 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. on Tuesday unveiled its new subcompact sport-utility vehicle Kona in a move to strengthen its SUV lineup by 2020 to meet growing demand for recreational vehicles.

Starting Wednesday, Hyundai will begin sales of the Kona SUV mated with either a 1.6-liter gasoline turbo engine or a 1.6-liter diesel engine in the domestic market, the company said in a statement.

The company said it will launch the Kona in the United States and Europe in the second half to grab a share of the rapidly growing market.

"The global SUV market has grown by an average of 20 percent in the past seven years. In particular, global carmakers have recently jumped into the B segment SUV market for a greater share," Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun said in the statement.

Instead of launching new SUV models in global markets, Hyundai completed a thorough market analysis and used "optimal" technologies in the Kona, he said.

Hyundai Motor's Kona SUV (Courtesy of Hyundai Motor) (Yonhap)

The worldwide B segment SUV market grew sharply over the past seven years, jumping to 4.64 million units sold in 2016 from 485,000 units in 2010. It is expected to grow 19 percent year-over-year to 5.54 million units this year, according to global researcher IHS.

The maker of the Sonata sedan and Santa Fe SUV plans to diversify its SUV lineup by launching a variety of SUV models from the smallest A segment to the biggest E segment. It also plans to launch all-electric, hydro electric and high-performance SUVs to meet diverse demands in the global market.

In the first half of 2018, it will add the pure-electric Kona SUV and a hydro electric crossover to its SUV lineup, currently comprised of the Creta, Tucson, Santa Fe and Max Cruze SUVs, the statement said.

In the second half, Kona models equipped with a 1.0 gasoline turbo GDi engine and 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine will be available in Europe. The 1.6 diesel model is scheduled to be launched there next year. In the U.S., the 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine and a 2.0 gasoline MPi engine Konas will be sold, it said.

The Kona SUV is priced at between 23 million won (US$20,300) and 27 million won in the domestic market, the statement said.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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