Hyundai, Kia to unveil 4 new cars in China in H2
[THE INVESTOR] Hyundai Motor Group on June 14 said it plans to unveil four new cars in China this year in an attempt to beat a sales slump in the world’s largest auto market.
Hyundai’s China-exclusive ix35 sport utility vehicle, which made its debut at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier in April, will hit the market in the second half of this year. Hyundai will also release its new subcompact sedan Reina sometime in August or September, following its introduction at the Chongqing Motor Show recently. Reina is based on the fourth-generation Verna -- which is currently sold in India.
Hyundai’s smaller corporate sibling Kia Motors is set to launch K2 Cross, crossover version of the K2 sedan, and the Pegas compact sedan, in the market, following their debut at the Shanghai Auto Show.
In addition to new cars, Hyundai is also planning to release the Chinese version of the latest Sonata sedan and the electric model of Elantra Yuedong in the market.
The new car releases arrive amid faltering sales at Hyundai’s biggest market, due to heightened political tension between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of US-led THAAD missile system.
The auto giant’s sales in China declined 43 percent on-year to 376,895 vehicles in the January-May period, raising concerns that Hyundai will miss its annual sales target for the third straight year.
To fight the unprecedented sales slump, Hyundai has been putting all-out efforts to win back Chinese consumers.
It recently hired Simon Loasby, head designer of Volkswagen Group China, to lead its design team in China. Hyundai hopes the China expert will develop localized models that suit the local market.
Hyundai is also tying up with Chinese tech giant Baidu to develop a real-time navigation system Baidu MapAuto and Duer OS Auto, Baidu’s speed recognition digital assistant, with plans to launch a new car that is equipped with the two systems.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)