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Hyundai Motor's Feb. sales in China plunge nearly 30 pct

All Headlines 09:06 March 04, 2016

SEOUL, March 4 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's leading carmaker, saw its sales in China plummet for a second straight month in February, industry data showed Friday, casting a dark cloud over its business prospects in one of the world's largest markets.

Hyundai Motor sold 53,326 vehicles in China last month, down 28.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the data obtained by the English division of Yonhap News Agency. The data is not a final version and is subject to adjustment later.

Compared with a month earlier, sales also shrank 29.3 percent.

This marked the second straight month of sharp declines following a 27.2 percent on-year fall in January. During the first two months of the year, its cumulative sales also plunged 27.6 percent to 128,462 units.

The latest sales data underlined the challenges confronting Hyundai Motor, which has to compete with Chinese carmakers armed with low-priced vehicles, and other foreign carmakers ramping up marketing to carve out more shares.

"Growing worries over the Chinese economy and the recent rout in its stock markets all served as downside factors last month. Also behind the lackluster performance was the fact that there were no major new cars launched," a market expert said on condition of anonymity.

"It seems that the slumping sales trend in China continued even into February."

Last year, Hyundai Motor's overseas business was hard hit by its slumping sales in China, one of two major overseas markets, along with the United States. Its sales in China shrank 5.1 percent on-year in 2015.

Such anemic business results were the reason that Hyundai Motor and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors Corp. failed to meet their annual sales target last year. Their sales stood at around 8 million units in 2015, which were below its target of 8.2 million.

Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor Group, which holds the two carmaking giants under its wing, said it aims to sell 8.13 million cars globally this year, lowering its business target from the previous year in a rare move.

Meanwhile, Kia Motors fared relatively better in China last month apparently thanks to robust demand for its newly launched Sportage SUV and other similar vehicles

Its sales in China edged down 0.12 percent on-year to 42,954. The combined sales of the two automakers in China still dropped 17.8 percent, the data showed.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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