Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors announced plans to triple their number of fuel-efficient cars by 2020, Reuters reports. This will bring the total number of green cars in their lineup from seven to 22.
By enhancing performance in all areas, the two automakers are looking to move from their current position as the fifth largest manufacturer of eco-friendly cars to the second-largest by 2020. Toyota leads the sector with its best-selling Prius model. The Chevrolet Spark is the most fuel-efficient vehicle, according to the 2015 Fuel Economy Guide released by the EPA and the US Energy Department.
Hyundai and Kia have vowed to raise the fuel economy of their vehicles by 25 percent by 2020 to meet emissions regulations in the US, Europe and South Korea. They are facing a $350 million fine in the US for overstating vehicles’ fuel economy.
The pair also announced that they would buy back $615 million worth of shares in an effort to appease investors angered by a $10 million bid for property for a new headquarters.
Shares of Hyundai have fallen 25 percent this year, but they have risen over 17 percent since hitting a more than four-year low on Nov. 5. Kia stock has declined 0.9 percent while the benchmark index has lost 2.4 percent.
According to Reuters, investors have voiced concern about the fine in the US and Hyundai’s latest Genesis model and Kia’s Soul having lower fuel mileage than their predecessors. The announcement to increase the number of green automobiles addresses concerns about the automakers’ green track record and their competitiveness in fuel economy.
Hyundai and Kia plan to release 12 models powered by gasoline-electric hybrid engines, expanding the line-up to small cars and sport utility vehicles. The pair’s green range will also include six plug-in hybrid mid-sized and compact cars, two fuel-cell cars and two battery-powered electric cars.
The demand for eco-friendly cars will jump to 6.4 million units in 2020 from 2.2 million this year, according to industry analysts.
Photo: Hyundai concept electric model via Shutterstock