When the South Korean government this week named three hybrid-electric vehicles that qualify for big tax breaks beginning July 1, Kia Motors Corp.’s upcoming Forte LPI hybrid was not on the list – even though it shares a powertrain with one of the qualifying cars.
TheCivic Hybrid, Lexus RX 450h and Avante LPI hybrid, a sister model to the Forte, all made the Korean Ministry of Knowledge’s tax-break cut.
But Kia officials are not worried about the snub.
“The Forte LPI hybrid will be eligible for the same tax breaks even though it wasn't included in the government report,” a Kia spokesman tells Ward’s. “Its launch date (August) is after the Avante hybrid’s, and the administrative procedures have not been completed.
“The Forte LPI hybrid will be treated exactly the same as the Avante hybrid.”
The two cars feature LG Chemical Ltd. lithium-polymer batteries and a 20-hp electric motor.
Some analysts see the government announcement as a marketing boost forat the expense of Kia.
A Hyundai spokesman says consumers who buy the Avante LPI hybrid, which goes on sale July 8, will get up to 3.1 million won ($2,438) in tax breaks. The savings comes from not having to pay the registration, acquisition, individual consumption taxes or bond assessments.
“Proactive state support is vital to the success of our hybrid-vehicle program,” the spokesman says. “The consumer, the manufacturer and the state all have equally shared responsibility to protect the environment.”
The Avante LPI hybrid is in production now at Ulsan Plant 3. Hyundai began taking advance orders for the car on June 15.