Korean brand's local boss says the company isn't able to bring regular hybrids Down Under at a low enough price to compete with the Japanese automotive giant. Instead, it'll focus on PHEVs, EVs, and maybe even fuel-cell vehicles.
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Hyundai Australia says it can't compete with 'hybrid king' Toyota, and as such won't be looking into bringing series hybrid versions of cars like the Kona and Sonata.

Speaking at the local launch for the all-new Venue crossover, Hyundai's local boss, J.W. Lee, said the Korean brand's Australian division is unable to get its hybrid vehicles for a low enough price to properly compete with the likes of the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid.

"We would love to, but there is some sort of the limitations to develop such hybrid car for a certain market," Mr Lee said.

"The hybrid market is very serious in Australia, but in terms of price or cost, as of now, we are not able to compete with the Toyota in hybrid areas."

Above: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

"So, I think we need to give some much more focus on other alternative vehicles such as electric vehicles [and] plug-in hybrids," he continued.

"Hybrid, or some hydrogen cars – that space is something more advantageous [for us]."

"But currently [the] hybrid space, Toyota is almost like a king. So we don't want to compete with Toyota," Lee added.

The only 'regular' hybrid product Hyundai currently sells in Australia is the Ioniq eco car, which is priced very close to its main rival, the Toyota Prius.

However, Lee's comments indicate the likes of the Kona Hybrid (above) and Sonata Hybrid available overseas won't be made available in Australia, given both vehicles sit at the top of their respective line-ups, limiting volume prospects compared to their equivalent Toyota rivals.

Regular hybrid sales are on their way up in Australia, with passenger car sales up by over 50 per cent in both the private and fleet spaces, while hybrid SUV sales are up by more than 1000 per cent in the private market and around 480 per cent in the fleet arena.

Most of this growth has been driven by the Toyota Corolla, Camry, and now the RAV4, all of which are seeing high take-up of petrol-electric variants due to the relatively low premium over their standard petrol counterparts – for reference, a hybrid Corolla is about $1500 more than a petrol only model.