SEOUL, Aug. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said Thursday they are considering shipping some of their cars made in China to Southeast Asia amid lackluster sales in the world’s biggest automobile market.
Still, a Hyundai official said it could take time before making a final decision. He did not provide any specific time frame.
The move came as the South Korean auto giant has been struggling to boost sales in China after being hit hard due to a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
Hyundai and Kia, which together are the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, sold a combined 601,444 units in China in the January-July period, up 20 percent from 500,964 units a year earlier, the companies said.
But their sales in China increased due to a low base effect as sales of Hyundai and Kia cars plunged in 2017 when China retaliated economically against South Korea over the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile defense system in South Korea.
Hyundai has five plants in China, which have a combined annual capacity of 1.65 million units. Kia has three plants in China, which have a combined capacity of 890,000 units.