SEOUL, March 28 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Sunday that it has launched the latest version of the Avante compact designed to target the Chinese market as it strives to prop up its slumping sales.
Hyundai Motor unveiled and started sales of the new version of the Avante, also known as the Elantra in overseas markets, on Friday in an expo building located in Shanghai, the company said in a press release.
The Avante, whose first generation was launched in 2004 in China, has been a major model for Hyundai Motor in the world’s largest market. Its cumulative sales came to 3.38 million units as of last year.
The new Avante will be sold as the “Lingdong” in China. Its main designs and features are based on the six-generation Avante but adjusted in a way that appeals to Chinese customers, the automaker said.
The new Avante has three lineups based on different engine types – its Gamma 1.6 MPI, Gamma 1.6 GDI and Kappa 1.4 Turbo GDI engines.
Hyundai Motor aims to sell over 250,000 units of the new Avante annually in China, adding that its target customers will be those in their late 20s and early 30s.
The launch comes as Hyundai Motor is struggling with dwindling sales in China. During the first two months of the year, its car sales plunged 27.6 percent from the same period a year earlier, industry data showed.
Market experts have said that a lack of new models appealing to local customers might be a reason behind the lackluster sales.’