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(LEAD) Hyundai, Kia promote eco-friendly models at China auto show

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SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) — Hyundai Motor Co. and its subsidiary Kia Corp. announced on Friday that they will promote their eco-friendly vehicles at a Chinese auto show to boost lackluster local sales.

Hyundai showcased the localized Tucson SUV and Tuscon N Line model at the 19th Guangzhou International Automobile Expo in China, with plans to sell the models in China later this year, the company said in a statement.

N Line models sit between Hyundai’s high-performance N brand and the general Hyundai brand. N models bring full performance capability to everyday driving, while the N line brings performance-inspired elements to base vehicle models.

Kia has introduced the all-electric EV6 sedan and the EV6 GT model before they start selling in the neighboring market late next year, the company said in a separate statement.

The two South Korean automakers are still suffering from weak sales in China due to the lingering impact of a diplomatic dispute between Seoul and Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile system called THAAD in Korea in 2017.

Earlier this year, Hyundai and Kia set their sales target of 817,000 vehicles in China this year, up 23 percent from 664,744 units sold last year.

From January to September, their overall sales fell 26% to 343,208 automobiles from 460,934 in the same period last year.

They have revamped its Chinese operations since 2019 amid a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, Hyundai suspended Beijing’s No. 1 plant and halted production of low-end compact models to improve profitability. Kia also closed Yancheng Plant No. 1 the same year due to declining local demand for its models. The two factories have not yet resumed production.

Also at the show, Hyundai Motor’s independent Genesis brand unveiled the electrified GV70 SUV model to appeal to local customers interested in zero-emission cars.

The GV70 equipped with a 77.4 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery can travel more than 400 kilometers on a single charge, Genesis said, adding that it will set a new standard for luxury electric SUVs.

The SUV will be available only with four-wheel drive and can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in just 18 minutes with a 350-kilowatt fast charger, the company said.

The Genesis lineup currently consists of the G70, G80 and G90 sedans, as well as the GV60, GV70, GV80 and GV80 electrified SUVs.

The GV70 is the third electric vehicle from the Genesis brand after the GV60 SUV and the G80 electrified sedan. But unlike the G80, the GV60 and GV70 are only available with Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).

The Genesis brand plans to complete its range with eight hydrogen and battery-powered models by 2030 and aims to sell 400,000 units per year in global markets.

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