The sales of Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. in China declined 39 percent on-year last month amid prolonged diplomatic tension between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system, industry data showed Sunday.
Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors sold a combined 76,010 vehicles in the world's largest automotive market in August, down from 124,116 units tallied the same month a year earlier, according to the companies' data.
The sharp decline has been widely expected as Beijing has taken a series of retaliatory measures over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea.
China has repeatedly expressed opposition against the U.S. anti-missile system saying that the deployment could hurt its security interests. Seoul and Washington, however, have dismissed such concerns, saying the missile shield is defensive in nature and is meant to only counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats.
In the January-August period, the two carmakers' combined sales plunged 44.7 percent to 576,974 autos from 1,043,496 units a year earlier, the data showed.
Hyundai and Kia together form the world's fifth-largest carmaker by sales. (Yonhap)