Hyundai Motor confirmed its plans to ship China-made cars to Southeast Asia as stagnant sales in the region left much of its massive local manufacturing capacity in idle mode.
The South Korean car maker is banking on the popularity of its cars in the ASEAN region, as Hyundai and Kia posted a 26-percent on year growth from January to June in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Hyundai ranked third in China sales before the plunge, alongside affiliate Kia Motors Corp. However, soon after opening its fifth factory in the Middle Kingdom, a diplomatic dispute soured trade relations between China and South Korea, damaging the sales and brand image of many of the products associated with the smaller Asian country. Diplomatic ties has improved between the two countries since then, but Hyundai’s recovery has been unstable.
With the surplus in produced vehicles, Hyundai is looking to export to Southeast Asia and other global markets.
“Yes, we plan to export cars to Southeast Asia,” confirmed Beijing Automotive Group Co Ltd (BAIC) spokesman Zhao Jun. The earliest could be the end of this year.”
Zhao added that the automaker will decide on which models to export depending on the local demand.
Some of the cars produced by Beijing Hyundai include the Elantra, Sonata, Tucson, and Santa Fe.
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