Kia tries turning around China business
Kia plans to scale up its investment in China and introduce a series of new electric vehicles (EVs).
The Korean automaker announced Monday it signed an agreement with the Yancheng city government to expand its existing joint venture, although it refrained from specifying the size new investment. Kia's business in China has struggled in recent years
Kia will release six EV models in China by 2027, starting with the EV6 next year. The carmaker plans to hire more local employees and spend more on marketing and advertising, according to a statement.
The Yancheng government will support Kia’s push to increase production at its plant in northeastern Jiangsu province.
The moves came as the structure of Kia’s Chinese joint venture, named Dongfeng Yueda Kia, is changing. The joint venture was originally owned 25 percent by Dongfeng Motor Group, 25 percent by Jiangsu Yueda Automobile Group and 50 percent owned by Kia.
Dongfeng Motor Group sold its stake to Jiangsu Yueda last year, according to a spokesperson for Kia.
Kia plans to increase its stake, according to the statement.
Kia will announce a new name for the joint venture during the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition in April.
Kia hopes to revive the faltering sales. A diplomatic dispute over the deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system in Korea in 2017 took a toll on its business, as Chinese authorities tried punishing Korean companies in various ways, including boycotts.
Kia sold 477,282 units in China in 2021, 28 percent fewer than in 2020, according to data compiled by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
BY PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]