[THE INVESTOR] Kia Motors, the nation’s No.2 carmaker, plans to launch three new cars in China this year to revive slumping sales in the world’s largest auto market, according to local and Chinese media reports on March 1.
Dongfeng Yueda Kia, Kia Motor’s Chinese joint venture, plans to launch KX7 SUV, a China-only midsized SUV based on the third-generation Kia Sorento, this month. The automaker has set a sales target of 40,000 units this year.
The Chinese JV also plans to introduce an electric sedan Horki 300E sometime this year. Horki is a sub-brand of the Dongfeng Yueda Kia. Horki 300E, which was first unveiled at the Guangzhou Auto Show last year, is based on the first generation of Kia Cerato.
In January, Kia began sales of Niro hybrid SUV in China, the largest EV market in the world. With the price starting at 149,800 yuan (US$21,751.12), the car expects to rival Chinese EV maker BYD’s Yuan compact SUV, which has a price tag of 209,800 yuan.
Besides new cars, the automaker plans to roll out follow-up models of Forte compact sedan, K2 compact sedan and K4 sedan this year, as well as K5 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Last month, Kia Motors saw its sales in China plummet 38.9 percent from a year earlier. It sold 30,800 units in January, compared to 49,259 units sold during the same month last year.
The decline in the country came as some Chinese dealers demanded Kia to compensate them for the losses brought about by unsold stock due to Kia’s slowed sales in the country.
Last year, Kia’s auto sales in China grew 4.4 percent, however, it lagged behind the country’s overall auto sales that jumped 15.5 percent on-year.
By injecting new cars, Kia targets a 7.7 percent rise in sales this year, aiming to sell 700,000 units.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)