By Kim Jung-hwan and Lee Eun-joo
Hyundai Motor Co., the largest automaker in South Korea, and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. on Wednesday unveiled new vehicles in China with desperate hopes to restore sagging sales in the world’s biggest auto market.
Hyundai Motor presented Lafesta - a localized sporty sedan available only in China - for the first time at Beijing Motor Show that kicked off on Wednesday at China International Exhibition Center. Cheung Eui-sun , vice chair and heir to Hyundai Motor Group, premiered the car.
Lafesta is a compact sporty sedan developed to target rising consumers in China born 1985 to 1995. The car will be rolled out from Beijing Hyundai Motor Co.’s fifth manufacturing facility in Chongqing in China for sale in the fourth quarter.
With the specific design to seat drivers in 20s and 30s, Lafesta sports modern and savvy design. The front of the new vehicle has a chrome design that brings a luxury image while each side gives a sportier, coupe-style look with a long wheel base and low height.
Lafesta comes in either 1.4-litre or 1.6-litre turbo engine, and 7-speed dual clutch transmission, which provides strong motive power and driving performance and smooth shift control. The sedan is also loaded with a number of intelligent safety technology features such as advanced driver-assistance system and smart system.
The car maker plans to introduce products and services that meet diverse demands of next-generation consumers by focusing on developing three core future technologies such as automation, smart, and connected car technologies and establish three major product categories that include normal, performance, and environmentally-friendly vehicles. It also unveiled all-new five-door compact Celesta for the first time at the Beijing Motor Show with an aim to hit the showroom in the first half.
Kia Motors premiered Yi Pao sport utility vehicle at the automotive show in Beijing - another customized vehicle for the Chinese market that will be sold in the second half of this year. Yi Pao, which is a compound of “big and beautiful” and “to run” in Chinese, also targets young consumers.