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Hyundai feels heat from Japanese rivals in China

2013-12-06 10:48:46     by

Tags: Hyundai

  Hyundai Motor Co. says its vehicle sales in China rose only 1 percent year-on-year in November -- evidence that the Korean automaker could be one of the biggest losers from the resurgence of Japanese brands in China.

  Japanese carmakers are launching new models, and are benefiting from the end of anti-Japan protests that played havoc with China sales last year.

  Toyota Motor Corp.'s China sales jumped 41 percent in November from a year earlier, while Honda Motor Co. posted a 102 percent sales increase in the same period.

  Honda's gain follows a 212 percent year-on-year rise in October and a 118 percent surge in September.

  "Japanese carmakers, which boosted U.S. profits with the weaker yen, have more room to invest in China sales where they lag behind rivals," said Song Sun-jae, an auto analyst at Hana Daetoo Securities. "For Hyundai, the China effect disappeared in November while the U.S. sales remain sluggish."

  China strategy

  Hyundai's new plant in Beijing, which went into production last year, has helped to offset stagnating demand in the United States.

  The plant, Hyundai's third in China, has capacity to produce 300,000 vehicles and the company plans to increase this to 450,000 next year.

  Hyundai is considering building a fourth plant in China to maintain its market share of around 10 percent in 2015-2016, when China's light-vehicle market is expected to grow to 20 million units a year.

  But the timing of any new plant has not been announced and group Chairman Chung Mong-koo remains wary of major capacity expansion, a person familiar with the matter said earlier this year.

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