Feb. 22, 2007: New Car Net—Kia Set for Triple Unveiling

The Kia Rio goes by the name of Pride in Korea.

Summary:Along with a couple other models—the cee’d and an unnamed European concept car—Kia plans to unveil a hybrid Rio at the Geneva Motor Show, which begins March 6.

"The Rio Hybrid uses a 1.4-litre 90 PS petrol engine mated to a compact 12 kW synchronised electric motor.

"In one of the most ambitious research and development exercises Kia has ever undertaken almost 4,000 Rio Hybrid vehicles will hit the road supporting the Korean Ministry of the Environment with clean transport solutions.

"The Hybrid will instantly become part of Korea’s largest ‘real-world’ testing programme to develop clean and efficient hybrid vehicles."

Kia and its parent company Hyundai have experienced some hard times lately, what with a corruption scandal that rocked South Korea last year and ended with Hyundai chairman and CEO Chung Mong-Koo sentenced to three years in prison. Chung will continue to run the company from his cell, and his son Eui-sun will remain in his position as chief at Kia.

But such an ambitious real-world testing program has to be lauded. Before the hybrids are ever shipped out of South Korea, the bugs should be worked out. Could we imagine a Ford or Chevy hybrid in the same type of program in the US? The idea has merit.

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