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(LEAD) Hyundai begins production of Kona SUV

All News 16:32 June 20, 2017

(ATTN: CHANGES headline and lead; REWRITES 2nd and 3rd paras)

ULSAN, South Korea, June 20 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. said Tuesday that it has begun production of its all-new subcompact Kona SUV, a move to bolster its lackluster sales in global markets.

The country's biggest carmaker by sales said production began on Monday at its plants in Ulsan, 414 kilometers southeast of Seoul, less than a week after the official unveiling. It aims to sell 26,000 units domestically and export 41,000 units this year.

Hyundai has added the subcompact SUV to its lineup to take advantage of a rising global demand for small crossovers.

Industry watchers said the Kona could serve as a game changer for the domestic subcompact SUV market where more than 100,000 small-sized SUVs were sold last year.

"We are determined to manufacture the best quality products to satisfy the needs of customers as the Kona has been receiving much attention and good reviews following the world premiere event (held in Seoul last week)," a Hyundai official said.

The Kona, priced at between 19 million won (US$16,800) and 27 million won for domestic consumers, either has a 1.6-liter gasoline turbo engine or a 1.6-liter diesel engine and is fitted with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.

Hyundai said it will start the production of the Kona for export to Europe and the United States in August and December, respectively.

The European models will come with a 1.0 gasoline turbo GDi engine and 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine. A 1.6 diesel-engine model is scheduled to be launched in Europe next year. In the U.S., the 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine and 2.0 gasoline MPi engine Konas will be available.

Hyundai has said it will also unveil four more SUVs by 2020 to add new models to its current lineup of the Creta, Tucson, Santa Fe and Maxcruz.

The five new SUVs are the all-electric Kona, a fuel cell-based car, an SUV larger than the Santa Fe, and two smaller-sized crossovers, the flagship company of Hyundai Motor Group said.

Hyundai Motor Co.'s Kona subcompact SUV (Yonhap file photo)


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