Hyundai Motor targets 77,000 IONIQ hybrid car sales next year

SEOUL, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor on Thursday said it aims to sell 77,000 of its first dedicated gasoline-electric car globally next year, as it tries to meet stringent emissions regulations in key markets.

The target is about 80 percent higher than the 42,778 hybrid cars they sold last year. The South Korean automaker has so far launched hybrid variants of their existing models like the Sonata and the Azera, but the 1.6-litre IONIQ is the first hybrid-exclusive car it has made from scratch.

Hyundai aims to sell 62,000 IONIQ cars overseas and 15,000 at home next year. The compact car, which was launched in Korea last week, will be rolled out in other markets like the United States and China.

Tough fuel economy and emissions regulations in the United States, Europe and South Korea are compelling automakers to push fuel-efficient cars even as low oil prices undercut demand.

The stakes are higher for Hyundai Motor, which has invested heavily to build a hybrid-only model to take on dominant leader Toyota Motor Corp.

Hyundai said it has built a tailor-made platform, engine and other key parts for the car, to help achieve a better fuel economy than the latest Prius.

The IONIQ, which has a fuel economy of 22.4 kms per litre, or 52.7 miles per gallon in South Korea, is priced at 22.95 million won ($18,918.47), similar to the basic version of Hyundai’s Sonata mid-sized sedan. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen Coates)