SEOUL (Reuters) -- Hyundai Motor Co. unveiled its first dedicated gasoline-electric vehicle, becoming one of a handful of automakers to challenge Toyota Motor's Prius as low oil prices weigh on demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
The automaker, in a statement released Wednesday, said the compact car, named the Ioniq, would be rolled out in mid-January in Korea with a starting price of about 22.9 million won ($19,145), similar to the basic version of its Sonata mid-sized sedan.
Other details about the vehicle were released last week.
The launch comes as slumping oil prices have cut gasoline prices, encouraging drivers to switch from fuel-sipping cars to gas-guzzling SUVs. Toyota, which dominates the gasoline-hybrid car market, last month trimmed its global sales target for the new Prius to 300,000-350,000.
The Ioniq featured a 1.6-liter engine with a thermal efficiency of 40 percent, a measurement of how well an engine converts the burning of fuel into motive power, Hyundai said. The fourth-generation Prius also has a thermal efficiency of 40 percent.
The Ioniq is the world's first car to offer three different electrified versions, including plug-in hybrid and full electric cars.
Hyundai has so far launched hybrid variants of their existing models like the Sonata and the Azera, but this is the first time it has made a hybrid-exclusive car.
Affiliate Kia Motors also plans to launch its first hybrid-dedicated model this year.