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(LEAD) Hyundai receives over 7,000 orders for Kona subcompact SUV

All News 11:26 July 11, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES figure in headline and lead; ADDS official's comment in 3rd para)
By Choi Kyong-ae

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest carmaker, has received over 7,000 orders for its first subcompact SUV since its unveiling two weeks ago, the company said Tuesday.

The Kona SUV went on sale June 27 in the domestic market to absorb growing demand for crossovers helped by low oil prices and signs of steady growth.

"The Kona SUV will be Hyundai Motor Group's first subcompact SUV that will be introduced in the global markets. The new vehicle focuses on safety and performance features to better compete with existing subcompact SUVs," Senior Vice President Lee Kwang-guk in charge of domestic sales operations at Hyundai Motor said in a press conference held ahead of a media test-drive event.

The new vehicle comes with either a 1.6-liter gasoline turbo engine or a 1.6-liter diesel engine in the domestic market. The car has a seven-speed dual clutch transmission that sends power to the front or to all four wheels depending how the car is configured.

It is priced at between 19 million won (US$16,800) and 27 million won for domestic consumers.

Hyundai Motor's Kona subcompact SUV (Yonhap)

The company said it will start the production of the Kona for exports to Europe and the United States at its domestic plants in August and December, respectively.

It counts Nissan Motor Corp.'s Juke, Honda Motor Co.'s HR-V, Toyota Motor Corp.'s C-HR and Renault S.A.'s Captur (sold as the QM3 here) as rivals of the Kona.

Hyundai aims to export a combined 41,000 units of the Kona to the two major markets this year and 150,000 units next year. Domestically, it wants to sell more than 26,000 Konas this year and 45,000 in 2018.

Kona models equipped with either a 1.0 gasoline turbo GDi engine or 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine will be launched in Europe. The 1.6 diesel model is scheduled to be added there next year. In the U.S., the 1.6 gasoline turbo GDi engine and 2.0 gasoline MPi engine Konas will be sold, Hyundai said.

Faced with slowing sales in China and the U.S., Hyundai is stepping up efforts to diversify its SUV lineup by launching a variety of models, including a high-performance one, from the smallest A segment to the largest E segment.

Hyundai has been working on the development of performance models, including the "N" brand, since 2013 to enhance its brand image. It plans to launch the i30N hatchback in Europe later this year to boost sales.

In the January-June period, Hyundai sold a total of 2.2 million vehicles globally, down 8.2 percent from 2.4 million units a year earlier. Given this trend, the carmaker may miss this year's sales target of 5.08 million units.

Kia Motors' Stonic subcompact SUV (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, Hyundai's affiliate Kia Motors Corp. plans to domestically launch the Stonic subcompact SUV on Thursday to strengthen its SUV lineup currently composed of the Niro, Soul, Sportage, Sorento and Mohave SUVs. The Stonic shares the same platform as the Kona.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-largest carmaker by sales, said they are eyeing a combined 8.25 million in sales this year, up from 7.9 million in 2016.


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