Kia Motors is starting full scale production of six versions of its Cee’d model with stop and start engine technology.
The models are being built at Kia’s Zilina plant in Slovakia and are expected to save drivers up to 15% in fuel costs.
Although left-hand-drive cars will start to hit showrooms during the spring, customers in the UK will have to wait until right-hand-drive production starts much later in the year.
A confirmed date for UK sales has not yet been set.
Kia’s research teams are also developing hybrid, fuel cell and electric vehicles for volume production in the next decade.
Paul Philpott, managing director of Kia Motors (UK), said: “We want to bring this advanced technology to UK customers as soon as possible but sadly we will have to wait for right-hand drive production to begin.”
Kia’s Idle Stop & Go (ISG) system automatically switches the engine off when the car is stopped in traffic and restarts the engine instantly when the driver wishes to move again.
While the car is stationary, if the clutch pedal is depressed, the engine is instantly re-started – automatically – so there is no delay in setting off as the engine re-starting process is accomplished in the time it takes the driver to select first gear.
The new ISG-equipped Kia Cee’d cars will also benefit from a new-generation, lighter weight manual gearbox which offsets the extra weight of the ISG system components.
In Europe, Cee’d ISG cars will be available with a choice of 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines and in the three Cee’d family bodystyles – five-door hatchback, five-door sporty wagon and three-door Pro_Cee’d.
Later during 2009, similar ISG technology will also be made available for the 1.6-litre diesel Cee’d and ISG technology will appear on other Kia models in 2010.