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Hyundai, Kia slump drags on amid China, S. Korea diplomatic clash
Automotive News China | 2017/6/20

Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. saw combined China sales plummet 65 percent to 52,385 vehicles in May as the two Korean brands remained in a slump amid a diplomatic spat between China and Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Hyundai sales totaled 35,000 light vehicles and Kia delivered 17,385 cars and light trucks in China last month, according to the South Korean news service.

In the first five months of the year, China sales at the two Korean brands dropped 43 percent to 377,000 vehicles. 

South Korea, to protect itself from a possible North Korean attack, allowed the United States to install an anti-missile system this year. China denounced the deployment, fearing it could threaten its own security.

But the South Korea government has refused to back down, triggering anti-Korean sentiment in China. In recent months, Chinese consumers have started boycotting Korean products.

In a bid to upgrade its product lineup, Hyundai is considering a plan to assemble its premium Genesis lineup in China.

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters reported in May that Hyundai is considering the move to improve its image in China, where many car buyers view Hyundai as a producer of inexpensive city taxis. 

According to Reuters, Hyundai may build a CKD plant in China to assemble Genesis luxury cars, which would halve import tariffs to 10 percent. 

In 2016, brand chief Manfred Fitzgerald said Genesis would launch in China within 2 to 3 years. 

Genesis remains practically invisible across China. Last year, Hyundai sold 74 Genesis sedans in China, down from 1,016 in 2015. 

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