Hyundai Motor is reportedly considering producing environment-friendly cars at its Czech plant next year. The company has thus far been producing eco-friendly cars in Korea. Kia Motors is also planning to produce a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) model and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) model for the Cee’d, an exclusive mode for the European market, at its plant in Slovakia from the second half of this year.
Hyundai Motor started to consider producing a hybrid model of the fourth-generation Tucson (project name NX) to be launched in the second half of 2020, at its Czech factory, sources in the auto industry said on March 10. In 2021, a PHEV model may be also production at the factory. The annual production volume will be 4,000 hybrid cars and 7,000 PHEVs.
The Tucson is a mid-sized SUV released by Hyundai Motor in 2004. The model hit the European market in June 2015. The hydrogen-fueled electric car that Hyundai successfully mass-produced for the first time in the world in 2013 was based on the model.
Hyundai Motor plans to roll out the green car version of the Tucson at both its Czech and Korean factories. This plan is seen as a measure to flexibly respond to market demand.
The Czech plant recorded an operating ratio of 108.1 percent in 2017. The rate was the third highest following the carmaker’s Russian factory (116.8 percent) and Turkish factory (113.5 percent). Hyundai Motor opened a production base in the Czech Republic in 2008, when the global financial crisis broke out. External uncertainties spread, but the Czech plant has grown rapidly to account for half of cars sold in Europe in 2017. The factory was built with an annual production capacity of 300,000 units but its production capacity surpassed 330,000 units with the introduction of a three-shift work system in 2011.
In the meantime, Kia Motors is also considering producing the HEV and PHEV models of the Cee’d at its Slovakian plant starting in the latter half of 2019. The factory can produce 150,000 hybrid cars and 16,000 PHEVs a year. The Cee’d is a hit model that has posted more than 1 million units in sales since the start of its production at the Slovakian plant in 2006. The model is not sold in Korea and all units of the model are rolled out at the Slovakian plant. It is an absolutely strategic model for the European market designed by the Kia Motors European Design Center.