(Yicai Global) Jan. 31 -- Hyundai Motor plans to bring its upscale brand Genesis to China before siphoning its lower-end Kia and Hyundai models out of the country as the world's largest auto market turns on its head.
The South Korean firm will bring its first sports-utility vehicle, the GV80, to China this year before bringing in the rest of its range, including the smaller follow-up GV70, a Hyundai executive told Yicai Global. It will mostly export cars made in South Korea at first, before looking at assembling vehicles in China via its joint venture Beijing Hyundai Motor.
The executive did not deny the possibility of manufacturing in China, saying such decisions would be made in response to Genesis' success in the country and market conditions. Hyundai plans to start withdrawing some of its lower-end vehicles from China to make way for its luxury marque, he added.
Hyundai set up the Genesis brand in 2015 and mainly sells its cars in the United States and its home market, where most of its revenue is generated but demand is limited. China is the world's largest car market and had grown consistently for over 20 years until 2018, when sales dipped 6 percent to 22.7 million units, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association.
There were about 170 cars for every 1,000 people in China last year, far less than in developed countries, Liu Yunan of the National Development and Reform Commission said during a press briefing on Jan. 29. There are about 800 per mille in the United States and between 500 and 600 in Europe and Japan, so there is still plenty of space for growth, he added.
Editor: James Boynton