Hyundai aims to sell 70,000 subcompact SUVs per year in China

BEIJING, April 24 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's top carmaker, targets annual sales of 70,000 units of its new ix25 subcompact sport utility vehicle (SUV) in China as it seeks to capitalize on a fast-growing popularity of SUVs in the world's largest auto market, a company executive said Thursday.

Hyundai unveiled the China-focused model at this week's Beijing Auto Show, where the latest SUVs have drawn the biggest oohs and aahs from urban Chinese customers enjoying bigger-than-ever incomes.

Hyundai plans to begin selling the ix25 in October this year in China, the executive said on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

"Initially, we aim to sell 70,000 ix25 vehicles a year in the Chinese market," the official said on the sidelines of the auto show, adding that the model aims at China's rising "balinghou" generation, or those born after the 1980s.

The subcompact SUV, equipped with either a 1.6-liter or 2-liter engine, will directly compete with such models as Ford Motor Co.'s EcoSport and General Motors Co.'s Encore in China, the executive said.

"The balinghou generation is emerging as a new group of consumption in China, and our advertising and marketing strategies are focusing on them," the executive said.

As part of its marketing campaign, Hyundai hired a famous South Korean actor, Kim Soo-hyun, to promote the ix25. Kim has become a household name in China thanks to his lead role in popular Korean drama "My Love from the Star."

Hyundai hopes to increase its sales in China to 1.13 million vehicles this year, up more than 10 percent from a year ago.

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