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Hyundai hypes hybrid at New York Auto Show

Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik

Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik presented the world debut of its 2011 Sonata Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show. Photo Credit: WPD/Hyundai

Hyundai is late to the hybrid party - gasoline-electric cars account for about five percent of car sales now - but the South Koean automaker is vowing that its first hybrid, a variant of the 2011 Sonata, won't be an also-ran.

At an early afternoon news conference at the New York Auto Show, Hyundai executives said they expect the U.S. EPA to certify the car at 39 mpg on the highway and 37 in the city. Most hybrids do far better in city driving than on the highway because, in most, the gasoline engine has to be operating at just about any speed beyond a slow crawl.

But Hyundai says the Sonata hybrid will be able to cruise on the electric motor alone up to 62 mph.

Hyundai executives said the car will be in showrooms just prior to Thanksgiving. Its price wasn't announced.

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