SEOUL, Apr. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — Hyundai Motor Co. has sold more sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) in China in the first quarter of this year, with such vehicles accounting for 40 percent all sales in the large market, auto industry data showed Tuesday.
Hyundai sold 67,167 units of its four SUV models from January through March, accounting for 41.3 percent of the 162,617 cars sold overall.
The company started selling SUVs in the neighboring country in 2002. The proportion of SUV sales to the total was 3.9 percent in 2005, and rose to 33.7 percent in 2016.
It fell to 29.5 percent due to the economic repercussions related to the diplomatic row over South Korea’s hosting of the United States THAAD anti-missile defense system on its soil.
Company officials say the introduction of the face-lifted ix35 SUV in November last year helped boost sales. The model sold 37,847 units in the first quarter, already more than the 34,361 crossovers sold for the whole of last year.
The new compact SUV Encino joined the ranks recently and is projected to help Hyundai reach new highs in terms of sales in China.
The increase in SUV sales is welcomed by Hyundai, because they generally improve overall business performance.
“The attention is on whether Hyundai can overcome the THAAD impact this year in China where the competition is growing in the biggest SUV market,” an industry official said.