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Hyundai Kona Electric discontinued in Korea as battery fire recalls continue

The automaker says it's still committed to the electric crossover in the US.

Hyundai Kona Electric
No longer for Korea.

There've been whispers about an uncertain future for the Hyundai Kona Electric, and on Wednesday we learned it's going away in the automaker's home country of Korea. The country's Yonhap News Agency first reported Hyundai will discontinue the Kona Electric locally as recalls for battery fires continue. The company will instead focus on the Ioniq 5 as its flagship EV for now.

Cases of battery fires and subsequent recalls quickly turned the Kona Electric from a bestseller to a slow seller. The company registered a 40% sales drop in the first quarter of 2021 compared to last year as recalls dampened the model's popularity. The recalls spread to the US, too, though a Hyundai spokesperson told Roadshow it has no plans to discontinue the Kona Electric in the US at this time.

Hyundai recently revealed a refreshed model with new looks but an identical powertrain, set to go on sale soon in both Europe and the US. Korea, however, will have to deal with whatever models remain at dealership lots. Production of the car for the domestic market ended in March and Hyundai will instead focus on the Ioniq sub-brand's forthcoming EVs.