Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors continue to suffer from sluggish sales in China.
In April, Beijing Hyundai, Hyundai Motor's joint venture in China, sold 46,000 cars, down 34 percent from a year ago, while Dongfeng Yueda Kia, Kia Motors' local joint venture, posted 24,000 units in sales, a drop of 19 percent. Accordingly, Hyundai and Kia's April retail sales in China totaled 70,000 units, down 30 percent from the same month of 2018.
Although specific sales figures were not disclosed, auto industry watchers speculate that the two Korean carmakers suffered drops in sales of most of their models in China.
“Beijing Hyundai’s shipments of the small sports utility vehicle ix25 grew during the first quarter of this year but since then, has switched into negative growth,” said Kang Sung-jin, an analyst at KB Securities.
Kia shipped 4,385 units of the Kona's Chinese model Encino when it was launched in China in April of last year, but Encino shipments hit only 2,907 units in April, Kang added. Shipments of the Kia Lafesta, which sold more than 8,000 units a month on average in the first quarter of this year, slid to 5,830 units in April.
In addition, sales of Kia’s sedan lineup including the K2, the K3 and the K4 were sluggish in April, and three new models -- the Yipao, the NP and the Pegas –- went through a slowdown in sales.
Auto industry observers put the blame on a decline in demand for cars in China and the weakened competitiveness of the two Korean carmakers. In fact, Beijing Hyundai closed Beijing Plant 1 last month due to a drop in operating rates triggered by sluggish sales and environmental policies of the Chinese government. Dongfeng Yueda Kia is also planning to put a halt to the operation of Yancheng Plant 1 in Jiangsu Province, China, this month.