* Hyundai-Kia's China sales dropped 52 pct in March
* Anti-Korean sentiment stems from missile dispute
(Adds details, context)
SHANGHAI, April 19 (Reuters) - The China joint venture of
South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co is facing "severe
challenges" due to a complex political, economic and competitive
environment, its chairman said on Wednesday, amid a political
stand-off between Beijing and Seoul.
The carmaker has seen its sales hit in the country and has
sharply cut production amid anti-Korean sentiment over the
planned deployment of a U.S. missile defence system outside
Seoul and rising competition from Chinese brands.
"At the moment given the complicated political, economic and
competitive market environment, Beijing Hyundai faces what we
can describe as severe market challenges," Xu Heyi, chairman of
Beijing Hyundai Motor Co, said at an event at the Shanghai auto
Beijing Hyundai is a joint venture between Hyundai and BAIC
Motor Corp Ltd.
Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors Corp saw
combined China sales slump 52 percent in March from the same
month a year earlier. China, the world's biggest auto market,
accounted for over a quarter of the pair's 2016 overseas sales.
In contrast, rivals Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor
Co Ltd and General Motors Co reported increases
in China sales last month.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by