Hyundai Motor on Thursday said it aims to sell 77,000 of its first dedicated gasoline-electric car globally next year, 80 percent more than their total hybrid car sales in 2015, as it tries to meet emissions regulations in key markets.
The South Korean automaker also expected the IONIQ to achieve a fuel efficiency of an estimated 57 miles per gallon in the United States, edging out an estimated 52 mpg for Toyota Motor's redesigned Prius, the world's top-selling gasoline hybrid which goes on sale in the U.S. market this month.
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.
"We are somewhat late to the market but we have been catching up very quickly," Ryu Chang-sung, a director at Hyundai Motor, said.
The compact car, which was unveiled last week and launched in Korea on Thursday, will be rolled out in other markets like the United States and China.
Hyundai aims to sell 30,000 IONIQs this year. Next year the target is 62,000 overseas and 15,000 at home, or about 80 percent higher than the 42,778 hybrid cars Hyundai sold in 2015.
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 become the No.2 player in the global green car market by 2020, by raising their range to more than 26 models.
Green cars would account for about 10 percent of its total car sales in 2020, up from 2 percent now, the company says.