Hyundai and Kia thrive in China as Japanese brands suffer image

Hyundai and Kia forecast sales in China will exceed their targets as the two South Korean carmakers benefit from the anti-Japan protests in China.

Hyundai Motor Company and affiliate Kia Motors Corporation are likely to sell more cars this year than the 1.25 million they had forecast, Hyundai said in a statement. Combined deliveries increased to 127,827 units in September, 9.5 percent higher than the previous record set in 2011, the release added.

Deliveries at Hyundai Motor increased 15 percent to 84,188 units, while Kia’s climbed to 43,639 units from 43,508 units, as September is a traditionally major shopping season in China. Hyundai and Kia sales in China were driven by the Langdong and K2 models, respectively.

Non-Japanese brands are advantaged as Chinese consumers avoid Japanese products following the territorial dispute between the two countries. “Although the China sales results are definitely good news for Hyundai and Kia as a whole, the benefits from the anti-Japan movements aren’t likely to last long. Also, Japanese automakers that resume production today will try to make up their losses,” Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Earlier this year, Hyundai opened a third Chinese plant, which may help the company increase production and sell more vehicles in China.