Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors, together the fifth largest automaker in the world, announced the replacement of three Chinese executives, as the South Korean companies are dissatisfied with the recent deliver slide.
China, the world’s largest auto market, also counts as the group’s biggest retail zone, but Hyundai and Kia, have seen July deliveries in the country drop 32 and 33 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year. Hyundai, which has been having troubles posting positive results during the past few quarters, has seen its exports to China drop 14 percent during the second quarter, impacting the already not very stellar second-quarter bookings. The conglomerate announced Lee Byung-ho was now in charge of Hyundai’s main joint venture in China, while Kim Gyun was made the chief of Kia’s China joint venture. Tan Tao-Hung received the duty of overseeing the Chinese business strategy for both automakers, with his office located in Seoul. The automakers added their predecessors were relegated to advisory duties.
Hyundai and Kia have been suffering lately because of an expansion strategy that mostly focused on sedan models and was caught by surprise by the recent global boom of sport utility vehicles. Their respective SUV and crossover ranges will receive reinforcements in the months to come, but before that happens, earlier this month, Hyundai dropped the price of two sport-utility vehicles in China by up to 11.8 percent, while Kia cut the price of two of its own SUVs by as much as 30 percent.