The decision follows the pair’s $350 million in combined penalties in the US due to exaggerated fuel economy figures on some models, and a need to meet stricter emissions targets in Korea and other markets.
Reuters reports both carmakers have been losing market share in Korea to imported brands with more fuel-efficient diesel engines.
A statement from Hyundai said Group Chairman Chung Mong-Koo called for the Korean carmakers to ‘lead the world’ in average fuel consumption by 2020.
To achieve this target, development of fuel-efficient engines and transmissions will be stepped-up over the rest of this decade, and more ‘green’ models with low or zero CO2 emissions will feature in future Kia and Hyundai line-ups.
The pair will reportedly build lighter cars and focus on small turbocharged petrol engines to improve efficiency, with up to seven of the group’s combined ten petrol and diesel engines set to be replaced or heavily revised by 2020.
The process has already begun this year, with Kia unveiling its new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
Kia says the transmission could improve economy by up to seven percent, while also providing a five percent improvement in acceleration.
All-electric models will also feature in future line-ups, but enthusiast site Kia World reports the new Soul EV (pictured, top of page) has found homes for just 109 units in the US and 16 in Canada during its early days on the market.
Those figures should improve throughout 2015 as awareness and dealer stocks improve in North America.
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