Hyundai, Kia to Sell 22 Green Cars by 2020

Nov 12, 2014 04:30 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors will triple their total number of fuel-efficient vehicles by 2020, addressing concerns about their green track record and desire to compete in the EV market.

Investors have voiced their displeasure with Hyundai's latest Genesis and Kia's Soul for having lower fuel mileage than their predecessors. They also were hit with a $350 fine in the United States for overstating fuel economy.

"Investors have complained about Hyundai's lack of shareholder-friendly policies and communication about its vision, especially after the land deal," said analyst Yim Eun-young of Samsung Securities, according to Reuters.

The announcement comes just a week after Hyundai and Kia said it would raise the fuel economy of their vehicles by 25 percent by 2020 in order to meet emissions regulations in the U.S., Europe and South Korea.

On Tuesday, the pair said it would buy back 670 billion won ($615 million) worth of shares, in what is being regarded as an attempt to please investors angered by a $10 billion bid for property to build a new headquarters, according to Reuters.

"Today's announcement seems to be part of its efforts to soothe shareholders and better communicate with the market," said Eun-young.

Hyundai shares have dropped 25 percent in 2014, but since hitting a four year low on Nov. 5 they have risen over 17 percent. Kia stock has fallen 0.9 percent.

The automakers will try to raise their number of fuel-efficient vehicles to "at least" 22 by 2020 from seven now, under the new plan.

"We have set an internal target of making it to No.2 in the global eco-friendly car market, which is expected to grow from this year's 2.2 million vehicles to 6.4 million in 2020," Hyundai said in a joint statement with Kia on Wednesday.

Twelve models powered by gasoline-electric hybrid engines will be released by the duo, expanding the their line-up to small vehicles and SUVs, according to Reuters.

Hyundai and Kia's green range will also include six plug-in hybrid mid-size vehicles and compact cars, two fuel-cell cars and two battery-powered electric cars.

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