On the 20th, Kia unveiled the ‘EV5′ concept car, a mid-sized electric SUV, in China. Kia unveiled the EV5 concept car at the ‘Kia EV Day’ held at the E-Sports Cultural Center in Shanghai, China on the same day, and announced that it would release the EV5 in the Chinese market within this year . The EV5 produced at the Yancheng factory in China is exported not only to the Chinese market but also to the world. Kia also introduced a goal to export a total of 100,000 units by 2026 by using the Yancheng factory as a global electric vehicle export base.
It is unusual for Kia to unveil a new electric car for global sales in China for the first time. China, the world’s largest electric vehicle market, is a must-see for Hyundai Motor Group. However, when sales performance was significantly sluggish, it is a strategy to aim for a turnaround with a new electric vehicle produced locally in China.
◇ Hyundai Motor Group is targeting the Chinese market with new EVs
The EV5, unveiled by Kia on the same day, features a design that blurs the lines between interior and exterior. As a concept car that can drive itself, the first and second row seats can be rotated 360 degrees so you can sit looking out the window or facing each other. The trunk space was made to be used as a table.
In addition to the EV5, Kia unveiled three electric vehicles on the same day, including the EV6 GT and the EV9 concept car. The EV6 GT, a high-performance model of the EV6, a mid-sized SUV electric vehicle launched in 2021, is expected to be released this year as Kia’s first electric vehicle in China. The EV6 GT is called an electric vehicle that inherits the high performance characteristics of the Kia Stinger, with a zero back time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 260 km/h. Kia plans to strengthen its electric vehicle brand image in China by putting high-performance models at the forefront. The EV9, a large SUV, will also be released within the first half of the year. In addition, it plans to introduce up to six electric vehicle models based on the electric vehicle platform (E-GMP) to the Chinese market by 2027. Kia will also install more than 100 fast chargers in China by 2025.
Hyundai Motor Company is also targeting the Chinese electric vehicle market with its Genesis luxury brand. Hyundai Motor started selling the Genesis EV GV60 in the Chinese market on the 17th. Before this, in November last year, the G80 and GV70 electric models were also unveiled in China. Hyundai Motor Company plans to expand Genesis brand awareness and customer touchpoints in China by expanding Genesis showrooms in major cities such as Beijing, which has only eight locations in Shanghai, Chengdu, and Nanjing.
◇ China, Hyundai Motor’s sore finger
For Hyundai Motor Group, China is a sore thumb. The current market share is only 1.3%, but it is an area that cannot be relinquished. This is because it is the largest car market in the world with 21 million units every year and has high growth potential. Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor Company CEO Jae-Hoon Jang said, “2023 is the year we need to normalize our business in China,” and set the sales target for this year in China at 306,000 units, up 20.5% from the previous year.
Sales in China of Hyundai Motor Group, which combines Hyundai Motor and Kia, recorded the highest sales of 1,792,000 units in 2016, before falling to 909,000 units in 2019 and 339,000 units last year. It dropped sharply in 2016 after China’s massive retaliatory measures against South Korea’s use of THAAD. Since then, sales volume has not been able to recover due to overlapping factors such as supply chain collapse and sales decline due to the long period of corona lockdown by the Chinese government, unseen retaliation against foreign companies, and the rise of domestic electric vehicle companies. An industry insider said, “Hyundai Motor and Kia’s electric vehicle models are doing well in the global market, but they are struggling in China, the world’s largest electric vehicle market.”