Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) last night began informing southern voters about the $48,000 Hyundai. Gephardt's campaign has purchased $700,000 in television air time, according to campaign manager William Carrick. The commercials will be on the air continually until Super Tuesday.

Ads, such as the one in which Gephardt notes that the price of the popular Hyundai would be $48,000 -- if the United States imposed the same import restrictions as South Korea does -- are running throughout Texas, Florida and 33 other markets in the South. Another spot, an endorsement by Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.), champion of the elderly, is airing heavily in Florida and other areas with high concentrations of elderly. The campaign also is concentrating on the oil-patch states -- Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas -- plus North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

Carrick said the campaign has raised $1.2 million since the New Hampshire primary Feb. 16, and that as contributions continue to come in, the funds will be applied to the advertising. Carrick hopes to have another $300,000 by mid- to late week to nourish the campaign's Super Tuesday advertising buy.

Carrick said the money is enough "to leave a dent" in Texas and Florida.