Hyundai Motor hopes up for new small SUV as China sales drops

Hyundai Kona teaser images

Hyundai Motor unveiled its first subcompact sport utility vehicle Kona for sophisticated markets, consisting of the United States, Europe and South Korea, as it attempts to balance out moving sales in China and overtake competitors in the segment.

The South Korean automaker stated it would also release an electric version of the sporty-looking Kona next year and a smaller sized SUV and a big SUV by 2020.

This comes when Hyundai looks set to miss its sales target for a 3rd straight year because of the unpopularity of its essential small sedans and political tensions between Beijing and Seoul that have damaged sales in China, the automaker’s biggest market.

Hyundai, which together with its affiliate Kia, previously sold subcompact SUVs just in emerging markets, missing out on strong growth in the sector in South Korea, the United States and Europe.

The subcompact SUV is the top-performing sector worldwide, growing at a yearly average of 46 percent from 2010 to 2016, Hyundai stated, pointing out IHS Automotive data.

“Even as the worldwide SUV market is nearing saturation, our company believe that additional small or small SUVs have more room for development than large SUVs,” Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun stated in Seoul.

The automaker released the Kona in South Korea on Tuesday, and said it would present the small SUV in Europe in August and the United States in December. It intends to sell more than 200,000 of the cars globally next year.

The Kona will take on Nissan’s Juke, Toyota’s C-HR and Renault’s Captur that is sold as QM3 in South Korea.

Hyundai and Kia in January stated they intended to increase international sales by 5 percent this year, however their combined sales dropped 7 percent over January to May, struck by slowing Chinese and U.S. sales.

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