UPDATE : 2018.12.18 TUE 14:20
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Hyundai aims to tap deeper into U.S. market via SUVs

South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Sunday the company aims to revitalize its sales in the United States by releasing eight new sports utility vehicle by 2020.

"(The company's) sales in the U.S. has been falling for the fifth consecutive years, as we failed to cope with market situations," said Lee Kyung-soo, who heads Hyundai's U.S. unit.

Hyundai sold 685,555 units of cars in 2017 in the U.S. market, down 11.5 percent from a year earlier.

"While 65 percent of the automobile demand in the U.S. market is for SUVs including pickups, Hyundai mostly focused on sedans such as Accent and Genesis, with only two SUVs, namely Tucson and Santa Fe.

Hyundai Motor Co.'s Kona small SUV. (Yonhap)

Starting with the small Kona SUV, the South Korean carmaker said it will release eight SUVs in the U.S. market, including two more versions of Kona, and new editions of Santa Fe and Tucson. Hydrogen-fueled Nexo, as well as other new SUVs under project name LX2, QX, and JX will also be released.

Hyundai is also considering releasing a new pickup truck in the U.S.

"We have been emphasizing (the need for a pickup in the U.S. market) to the headquarters, which recently gave approval approval," Lee said.

The South Korean carmaker aims to sell 716,000 units of cars in the U.S. this year, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier.

While the overall demand for automobiles is expected to decrease 2 percent on-year in 2018, Hyundai said it plans to expand sales through retails by 13 percent. As for the sales for corporates such as rental firms, the firm lowered the target by 30 percent.

"As car dealers expanded sales of rental cars amid the falling sales from consumers, the value of Hyundai cars lost ground in the used market, which eventually led to the decrease in sales of new products, creating a vicious cycle," Lee said. (Yonhap)

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koreapost.com

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