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Hyundai Motor replaces China head amid weak recovery
Reuters | 2018/7/27

SEOUL -- South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. said it has replaced the head of its operations in China after less than one year to speed recovery in its biggest market.

The automaker is recovering slowly from the impact of a diplomatic row between the Seoul and Beijing governments, while a dearth of SUVs and crossovers hit its sales hard last year.

Hyundai named Yoon Mong-hyun, head of its Turkey operations, as president of its Chinese joint venture with BAIC Motor Corp. The venture's current head, Tao Hung-tan, who took the post in September, will support the Chinese business from the automaker's Seoul headquarters, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

Affiliate Kia Motors Corp. also named Jin Byung-jin as head of its Chinese joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group Co.

"These appointments are to reinforce our competitiveness, which has been showing signs of recovery in the Chinese auto market," the companies said in a joint statement.

Hyundai's Chinese retail sales climbed 4 percent while Kia's rose 1.3 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period a year earlier, said Samsung Securities analyst Esther Yim in a client report this month.

Yim cut her target price for Hyundai stock, saying it will take more than two years for the automaker to return its Chinese factory utilization rate to 80 percent from its current 58 percent. 

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