Hyundai, Kia sales decline on backlash from China

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Hyundai, Kia sales decline on backlash from China

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors extended their sales decline in China last month as consumers shunned Korean brands due to geopolitical tensions, while Great Wall Motor posted its first monthly drop in more than two years as competition intensifies in the market’s fastest-growing vehicle segment.

Retail sales of cars, sport-utility vehicles and multipurpose vehicles fell 1.7 percent to 1.69 million units in April, data released by China Passenger Car Association on Tuesday show. For the first four months, deliveries slid 1.4 percent to 7.27 million units. Automakers now face the prospect of slowing sales in the world’s two largest vehicle markets, as rising incentives fail to boost demand in the U.S. and now China.

While higher borrowing costs and larger down payments are weighing on U.S. car buyers, the slowdown in China is due in part to politics, said industry consultant Maryann Keller.

Chinese consumers are turning away from Korean-branded cars, which accounted for about 5 percent of the market, as part of a consumer backlash against the country’s deployment of a U.S. antimissile system.

The fallout could last as long as a year despite possible efforts by Korea to repair ties with China, said Steve Man, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

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