SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's two biggest carmakers, said Tuesday that they will promote China-only models at an auto show in Shanghai, as they seek to revive sales in the world's biggest automobile market.
At the Shanghai Motor Show, Hyundai will showcase the all-new ix25 compact sport utility vehicle and three other new models, and Kia will introduce 16 models that include the new K3 compact, the companies said.
Hyundai and Kia saw their combined sales in China plunge 36 percent to 1,145,012 units in 2017 from 1,792,021 a year earlier. The decline was due to a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system called THAAD in South Korea in 2017.
The carmakers' slump continued last year with growth in their combined sales nearly stalled at 1,160,179 units in China.
On top of the ix25 SUV, Hyundai plans to promote the localized versions of the new Sonata midsize sedan, the Kona subcompact electric car and the Avante plug-in hybrid compact at the biennial show that opens to the public on Tuesday and ends on April 25.
Kia Motors will introduce the all-new K3 compact ahead of its local launch in May. The K3, which comes in 1.4-liter gasoline turbo engine, 1.5 gasoline engine and 1.6 plug-in hybrid versions, will be available in China, it said.
The maker of the Soul boxcar and Sorento SUV will also showcase the EV concept car 'Imagine by KIA' during the show amid growing appetite for electric cars among local customers.
This year's Shanghai auto show highlights global carmakers' race to present EVs for Chinese customers as the Beijing government winds down subsidies that helped boost EV sales.
Global carmakers plan to display their EV models aimed at competing with gasoline-powered models in terms of performance, costs and looks. They are also putting a bigger focus on the Chinese market this year as they want to improve revenue growth while sales in the United States and Europe remain flat or declining.
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