Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea's biggest automotive conglomerate, said Friday it has created a new executive post to improve lackluster sales in China, the world's biggest automobile market.
Hyundai named Vice Chairman Kwon Moon-sik, who is currently in charge of the carmaker's research and development headquarters, as chief of the new vehicle development headquarters for the Chinese market, the company said in a statement.
Kwon will simultaneously hold the two titles to better respond to needs of Chinese consumers, as Hyundai strives to boost its market presence in the country. Hyundai's performance in China is critical for achieving its global sales target for this year.
Hyundai and its affiliate, Kia Motors Corp., aim to sell a total of 7.55 million vehicles globally in 2018, up 4.1 percent from the 7.25 million units they sold last year.
In the January-July period, Hyundai and Kia, which together are the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, sold a combined 601,444 units in China, 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 due to a diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system, called THAAD, in South Korea.
China imposed a set of measures against South Korean products last year in retaliation for the THAAD installation that it claims compromises its national security. (Yonhap)