2010 Hyundai Hybrid May Get Unique Exterior

By dancurranjr On March 16th, 2009

2009-hyundai-sonataWhat has been dubbed until this point as the 2010 Hyundai Sonata hybrid may turn out to be more than just a Sonata with a hybrid powertrain tucked inside.

The Sonata-based hybrid sedan will get its own unique styling – the only question is how differentiated the hybrid will look from its non-hybrid platform-mate.  If the hybrid looks significantly different, Hyundai may not even keep the Sonata nameplate attached to it.

Woong-chul Yang, the president of research and development for Hyundai-Kia, said Hyundai “may change the name if the exterior is quite different.  People who drive a hybrid like to be differentiated.”

Most manufacturers opt for unique badges on hybrid models, rather than implementing significant changes to styling or altering the nameplate.  This includes hybrid versions of vehicles like GM’s Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Malibu, Ford’s Escape and upcoming Fusion, and even Honda’s Civic. Hyundai, however, is paying more attention to the hybrid sales king: the Toyota Prius.

The Toyota Prius’ shape and name are instantly recognizable characteristics which have helped it reign as the world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle.  Hyundai needs to pay close attention to the details, though – Honda’s Insight had an original name and unique exterior, but never managed to generate the same sales success as the Prius.

2010 is shaping up to be a competitive year for hybrids, with Toyota releasing an all-new Prius, Honda resurrecting the Insight and Hyundai introducing its first hybrid to the mix.

SOURCE: Automobile

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