(ATTN: CLARIFIES transmission of 2.0-liter gasoline Turbo model in 10th para; ADDS background throughout)
SEOUL, Nov. 29 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea's largest automotive conglomerate, said Thursday it has unveiled the Palisade flagship sport-utility vehicle and the all-new Soul boxcar at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The conglomerate, which encompasses vehicle parts manufacturers and a steelmaker, plans to launch the Palisade SUV made by Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.'s Soul in the United States and other markets next year to stimulate sales, the company said in a statement.
The U.S. is the most important automobile market for South Korean carmakers.
Hyundai plans to launch the Palisade, named after the Pacific Palisades, an affluent and beautiful neighborhood in southern California, in the U.S. market in the summer of 2019.
Hyundai expects the addition of the Palisade to its SUV lineup, currently composed of the Kona subcompact, Tucson and Santa Fe, will help improve sales across the board.
The Hyundai Palisade ships with a 2.2-liter diesel engine or a 3.8-liter gasoline engine. It is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The all-wheel-drive and three-row SUV boasts spacious eight-passenger seating with high-end materials; advanced convenience and safety features in the cabin; and ample cargo space for leisure activities.
Hyundai plans to launch the Palisade in the domestic market next month and it will replace the Veracruz, a large crossover that sat atop Hyundai's SUV lineup and has been out of production since 2015.
To strengthen its SUV lineup, the carmaker said it will introduce the luxury GV80 SUV in the U.S. market under the independent Genesis brand "sometime in late 2019."
Kia, which is 34 percent owned by Hyundai, is also stepping up its drive to bolster its SUV lineup.
It plans to introduce the new Soul multi-purpose vehicle and its electric version, Soul EV, in the domestic and overseas markets in the first quarter of 2019, the statement said.
In North America, the Soul will either be mated with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and a six-speed automatic transmission, it said.
Powertrains of the Soul model to be launched domestically have yet to be decided, a company spokesman said.
Hyundai and Kia, which are the flagships of the world's fifth-biggest carmaker, are behind their rivals in exploiting the consumer demand for SUVs.
They aim to sell a combined 7.55 million vehicles this year, up 4.1 percent from the 7.25 million they sold last year. But analysts say they will probably be unable to achieve the annual sales target due to weak sales in the U.S. and Chinese markets.
In the January-September period, Hyundai's net profit plunged 43 percent to 1.848 trillion won (US$1.64 billion) from 3.259 trillion won a year earlier.
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