[THE INVESTOR] After months of declining sales due to frosty relations between Korea and China, Beijing Hyundai Motor posted improved sales in October, the company said on Nov. 12.
The 50-50 joint venture set up by Hyundai Motor and BAIC Motor sold 80,016 units last month, down 11.1 percent compared to 90,000 units sold in October last year, the company’s data showed.
Although the company remained in the red, its performance in China is gradually recovering, compared to the 56.6 percent on-year sales drop seen in the first half of this year.
“Last month’s improved sales were largely due to the new models launched, the factory in Chongqing that newly opened in September and active promotion efforts,” said an official of Hyundai Motor.
Last month, Beijing Hyundai sold some 58,000 units of the newly released China-specific All New Reina compact car, which is produced at the Chongqing plant.
Easing diplomatic tension between the two countries has also helped push up the company’s lackluster performance there.
The number of vehicles sold at Beijing Hyundai Motor dipped 35.4 percent on-year in August and 18.4 percent in September.
Dongfeng Yueda Kia Motors, however, lagged behind in terms of recovery, selling 42,505 units last month, a 39.3 percent dip, the company said.
Analyst Cho Soo-hong of NH Investment and Securities said in a report, “Until the group (Hyundai Motor Group) sees both its market share and sales volume rebound on a quarterly basis, we are unable to view the firm’s recovery as being particularly meaningful.”
According to Cho, Hyundai and Kia’s rising sales in China is due to seasonal demand, which is a factor that benefits other auto companies there.
Kia Motors unveiled the China-specific New Forte subcompact sedan tailored for young Chinese drivers in their 20s and 30s last week.
The latest compact sedan was designed by the vice president of Kia’s technology institute in China, Oleg Son, a former PSA designer hired last month, and vice president Pierre Leclercq, a former BMW designer who joined the company in September.
As part of Hyundai Motor’s push to boost its brand image and operation in China, the company opened Hyundai Motor Studio earlier this month in Beijing’s art district of the 798 zone.
Hyundai Motor Group Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun visited China to attend the opening ceremony of the new venue that will also serve as a gallery for rising Chinese artists
Analyst Cho said, Hyundai and Kia’s China sales is projected to recover in the fourth quarter of this year on inventory expansion, a peak in seasonal demand and new models rolled out.
Hyundai Motor is widely expected to introduce the luxury brand Genesis in China soon. The company filed for trademark registration with China’s Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce for the Genesis as Jie Ni Sai Si this August.
Kia Motors will also add six new madeup SUVs and eco-friendly vehicles in 2018, including a plug-in hybrid version of the K5 midsize sedan, the K3 compact sedan, the K3 PHEV and the electric version of the KX3 small SUV, the company said.
By Kim Bo-gyung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)