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Kia launches country's first SUV plug-in hybrid

Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's second largest carmaker by sales, on Monday launched the country's first plug-in hybrid sport utility vehicle model.

The Niro plug-in hybrid can travel up to 840 kilometers -- 40 kilometers on a single charge and 800 km on a combined gasoline-battery drive. The 1.6-liter engine model has 141 horsepower on tap and 27.0 kilogram-force meters of torque, the company said in a statement. 

The model is priced at 33 million won and 35 million won ($29,400-$31,100) depending on features, Kia said.

The carmaker also placed the upgraded version of the Niro conventional gasoline hybrid in the market with a price tag of between 23.55 million won-27.85 million won, it said.

The Niro gasoline hybrid was domestically launched in March last year and went on sale in the US market in January this year.

In the January-April period, it ranked second with the sale of 7,828 Niro hybrids in the US midsize environment-friendly market after Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius electric car. Toyota sold 27,736 Prius electric cars in the US over the four months, according to Automotive News. 

In recent years, local demand for hybrid and electric cars has been on the rise, helped by improvements in nationwide charging infrastructure and reasonable prices for the environmentally friendly vehicles. (Yonhap)
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