2010 Kia Ray Concept Teaser, to be introduced at 2010 Chicago Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
With the 2010 Detroit Auto Show behind us, we're fast coming up on the Chicago Auto Show, which starts February 10. Now we've gotten our first teaser image, for the Kia Ray concept car that will be unveiled in the spacious precincts of McCormack Hall.
Kia says the Ray is meant to demonstrate how its designers "would approach packaging a plug-in hybrid," which in this case appears to be a sporty coupe or hatchback with a full-width strip of LED taillights.
Second Kia Ray Concept plug-in hybrid teaserEnlarge Photo
Hyundai Blue-Will plug-in hybrid concept, Seoul Motor Show, April 2009Enlarge Photo
Owned by Hyundai, the Kia brand has done well in the U.S. recently. Its mostly small and increasingly sporty cars have gotten more stylish and better equipped while keeping prices low.
Kia's success is in its sales figures: Hyundai and Kia together actually increased their U.S. sales in 2009, one of only a handful of brands to do so despite a 30-percent collapse in the market.
The Ray concept, created by a young team at Kia Design Center America, most likely uses the Hyundai corporate hybrid hardware that will make its first appearance in the 2011 Hyundai Sonata BlueDrive hybrid sedan.
A plug-in version of the BlueDrive system appeared in the Hyundai Blue-Will Concept currently on display at the Detroit Auto Show. That vehicle is said to offer 40 miles of range from its 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer cell battery pack, with further range provided by the gasoline engine.
The Kia Ray concept previews one of several hybrids from Hyundai, some of them undoubtedly for its smaller, cheekier brand. Last July the company launched the world's first hybrid to use lithium-polymer cells, the Elantra LPI Hybrid sedan limited to its domestic market.
We'll bring you more details on the Ray plug-in hybrid concept as we get them from Kia at the Chicago Auto Show.