LOS ANGELES — Hyundai Motor Co. is the latest major automaker to plan a distinct brand to contain its coming onslaught of electric vehicles.
It will be a mission of brand identity and awareness as Hyundai brings the venture to life.
Hyundai pulled the name Ioniq from its existing eco-friendly compact hatchback, which comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and EV versions. The low-volume Ioniq was pitched as something of a rival to Toyota's hybrid Prius, a nameplate that also was parlayed into a distinct brand effort at Toyota.
Hyundai said it is creating the Ioniq brand "in response to fast-growing market demand" as the company plans to "lead the global EV market."
Analysts say it's really a subbrand at best. The automaker confirmed that it will keep the Hyundai badge on the new Ioniq products and sell them through existing dealers. That's different from Hyundai's Genesis luxury brand, which has a separate identity and growing retail network.