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Hyundai seeks rebound in China with electric cars

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Markus Henne, CEO of Genesis Motor China, introduces the electric GV70 at the Auto Guangzhou motor show in China, Nov. 19. Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group
Markus Henne, CEO of Genesis Motor China, introduces the electric GV70 at the Auto Guangzhou motor show in China, Nov. 19. Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

By Baek Byung-yeul

Hyundai Motor Group is seeking to bounce back from its decreased sales volumes in China, one of the world's largest car markets, by introducing new, especially eco-friendly, models ― electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid cars.

The Korean automaker unveiled new models at Auto Guangzhou, an international motor show held in the Chinese city, Nov. 19, including the electric Genesis GV70 SUV, Hyundai Motor's SUV Tucson hybrid and Kia's EV6 electric car.

Genesis is Hyundai Motor Group's luxury car brand, and this was the second unveiling of a new model in China, giving the impression that the company is seeking to increase its Chinese customer base. In April, Genesis showcased an electric G80 sedan at the Auto Shanghai motor show.

"Hosting the world premiere of the electric GV70 underscores our commitment to the Chinese market," Markus Henne, CEO of Genesis Motor China, said. "We are excited to welcome the latest Genesis model, which will help us move toward a sustainable future."

Genesis said the electric GV70 is a model that can give drivers the pleasure of driving with power that enables the vehicle to go from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in 4.5 seconds, while having eco-friendly elements. It said the vehicle has an estimated maximum driving rage of over 500 kilometers on one charge, and drivers will be able to charge the battery from 10 percent to 80 percent within 18 minutes.

Including Hyundai Motor's Tucson hybrid and Kia's EV6, Hyundai Motor Group launched a variety of its latest eco-friendly models and this shows the automotive group's urgent attempts to establish itself in the Chinese market.

Though Hyundai is improving its presence in the global car market, it has experienced a decrease in sales in China.

According to data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), Hyundai Motor sold around 26,000 passenger cars last year, while Kia recorded 13,000, giving them market shares of 1.5 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

The two car brand's combined market share in China this year is only 2.8 percent while they had a 4.8 percent share in 2017. It also seems difficult to achieve Hyundai Motor's sales plan to sell 562,000 cars and 255,000 cars of Kia in China this year.

As such, the automotive group is taking measures to strengthen its eco-friendly car lineups.

The move is also in line up with the Chinese EV market, which has seen a rapid growth in recent years. Data show that the Chinese car market fell 14 percent last month compared with the same period last year, but the sales of EVs increased 141 percent to occupy an 18.5 percent share in total car sales.

The Chinese government is leading the shift to EVs in an effort to reduce annual oil imports, cut greenhouse gases and eventually take the lead in the future of the automotive business. The Chinese government predicts EV sales in 2030 to account for 40 percent of all car sales.

Baek Byung-yeul

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