[THE INVESTOR] The chief of Kia Motors's Chinese joint venture said the carmaker will come up with measures to boost faltering sales in the world’s biggest auto market amid heightened political tension between Korea and China over the deployment of US-led THAAD missile system.
“It’s still very difficult, but we will take more steps,” So Nam-young, CEO of Dongfeng Yueda Kia, told reporters at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 20.
He added Kia’s Chinese partners, Dongfeng Motor and Yueda, are also trying to find ways to resolve the current problems.
Dongfeng Yueda Kia CEO So Nam-young (right) poses with other Kia executives at the launch event of Pegas at the Shanghai Auto Show on April 19.
Sales of Kia Motors, as well as its bigger sibling Hyundai Motor, slumped in March from a year earlier amid intensifying anti-Korean sentiment. Beijing sees the missile system as a danger to its own security even though it is designed to protect South Korea from North Korean threats.
Kia’s March sales suffered a 68 percent on-year drop to 16,006 units, while Hyundai’s sales plunged 48 percent to 56,026 units.
Kia Motors launched two new cars the K2 Cross, crossover version of the K2 sedan, and the Pegas compact sedan, at the Shanghai Auto Show that runs through April 28. The nation’s No.2 carmaker has high hopes that the new cars will help it revive its unprecedented sales slump in the country.
The carmaker said it will soon launch electric vehicles in China, starting with a compact SUV. It has not yet released a full-electric vehicle in the country, the largest and fastest-growing EV market.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)