South Korea’s Hyundai Motor, world's 3rd largest carmaker (behind Toyota and Volkswagen) said it is considering building a car plant in Southeast Asia with Indonesia and Vietnam possible locations, part of efforts to diversify after a sales slump in China.
Currently, Hyundai Motor does not have a car manufacturing factory in Southeast Asia, although it has some pure assembly operations in Indonesia and Vietnam where cars are made from knock-down kits comprised of major component groups.
As reported by Reuters, a diplomatic row between Beijing and Seoul last year over the South Korea’s planned deployment of U.S. anti-missile defense system THAAD has hurt Hyundai and other South Korean firms that are highly reliant on the Chinese market.
Hyundai expects its China sales to reach about 900,000 vehicles in 2018, a recovery from levels last year, vice chairman and heir apparent Chung Eui-sun also said on the sidelines of the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, according to a company spokeswoman.
Hyundai has not disclosed estimates for 2017 China sales but sales of 900,000 would still be far below its production capacity of 1.65 million vehicles in its biggest market. Chung added that Hyundai is planning to enter China's fuel cell electric car market, after the automaker unveiled its new fuel cell electric vehicle, NEXO, with an estimated driving range of 370 miles, at the show.
Southeast Asia is known to have connected to Japanese carmakers, especially Toyota, and Hyundai has been avoiding a head to head fight with them. “It’s very difficult to fight the Japanese in Southeast Aia, but I think if Hyundai tried, they could actually put in some competition,” said Ferry Wong, head of equity research at Citigroup Inc.’s Indonesia unit.
Source : Reuters | Business Insider | herald.co.zw