Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea’s leading automaker, is revving up its India strategy with plans to launch its first hybrid SUVs in the country as early as 2026, according to a Reuters report citing inside sources. This move signifies a shift in focus for the company, which initially aimed solely at electric vehicles (EVs) in the Indian market.

The decision comes as Hyundai, along with its subsidiary Kia, sees a growing demand for hybrid technology in India. Unlike pure EVs, hybrids combine a gasoline engine with an electric motor, offering a potential solution to concerns over limited charging infrastructure and higher upfront costs associated with EVs.

“We are committed to a future of electrified mobility and will optimize product strategies for each market,” said Hyundai Motor Group in a statement to Reuters.

While both companies are currently established players in India’s gasoline and diesel vehicle market, they also offer imported EVs like the IONIQ 5 (Kia) and EV6 (Hyundai). Domestic production of their first India-made EVs is still on track for launch in 2025.

The hybrid launch is expected to serve as a strategic “interim solution” to address the slower-than-anticipated EV adoption rate in India.

“Hyundai has the hybrid technology in other markets, and they’re now adapting it for Indian cars to make it mainstream,” revealed a source with direct knowledge of the plans. This source highlighted the growing consumer preference for hybrids in recent months as a key factor behind the shift.

Currently, EVs hold a modest share of India’s vast car market (over 4 million units sold in 2023), accounting for just 2%. Hybrids, however, are gaining traction, led by Toyota, and now occupy a similar 2% market share.

Hyundai’s commitment to India extends beyond hybrids. The company is planning a significant $3 billion initial public offering (IPO) in the country, reflecting a strategic shift away from China, where they faced production losses for years, and a recent exit from the Russian market.

Hyundai Motor Group’s Executive Chair, Euisun Chung visited the country twice in less than a year, highlighting the importance India holds in their mid- and long-term plans, which now encompass both EVs and hybrids. India is their third-largest revenue generator after South Korea and the United States.

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