(Yicai Global) Sept. 13 -- Beijing Hyundai Motor Co. has halted production at its factories, and the carmaker said it has replaced the head of its China operations.
"This year marks the 15th anniversary of Beijing Hyundai and is also the most challenging year for the company over the past 15 years," Legal Weekly quoted Wu Zhoutao, deputy general manager of Beijing Hyundai and deputy head of its sales unit, as saying.
Beijing Hyundai said earlier that starting from Sept. 4, Tan Daohong, vice president of Hyundai Motor Group, will replace Zhang Yuanxin as its general manager.
Hyundai Motor Group appointed Zhang Yuanxin, formerly head of its overseas business unit, as general manager of Beijing Hyundai on Oct. 7 last year. As of Sept. 4, Zhang's term lasted three days short of 11 months. Over the past six years, Beijing Hyundai's general managers generally served between 14 months and 16 months.
Replacing the head of its China operations in such a short time may be related to Beijing Hyundai's performance in the Chinese market and its recent production halts.
Beijing Hyundai sold 475,000 vehicles in the first eight months of this year, down nearly 30 percent annually. It realized 38 percent of its annual sales target of 1.25 million set earlier this year. The company has lowered its sales target for the year to 800,000 units.
Given its current performance, Beijing Hyundai will be hard pressed to meet its annual sales goal, said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general at the China Passenger Car Association. South Korean carmakers will have to bring in more Korean technologies, put greater emphasis on the Chinese market and roll out products for Chinese consumers' needs to turn things round, Cui said.