Kia announces renewal of its joint venture with Jiangsu Yueda Group, a company owned by Yancheng local government. (KIA)
Kia, South Korea’s second-largest automaker, will launch six electric vehicle models by 2027 in China by renewing its joint venture in the country, where it has been losing presence in recent years over soured bilateral ties between Seoul and Beijing.
Starting with the EV6 next year, Kia will bring new battery-powered vehicles each year and realign its strategic models with bigger vehicles that are more globally popular such as the Carnival and Sportage.
The new China plan was released Monday, as the carmaker announced it had renewed its joint venture with Jiangsu Yueda Group, a company owned by the local government of Yancheng.
Kia‘s 20-year-old joint venture partnership went through a major structural change last year as Dongfeng Motor, which had held a 25 percent share, departed.
With Jiangsu Yueda Group acquiring the 25 percent from Dongfeng, the joint venture has entered a new phase, with each currently holding 50 percent.
The two are set to sign a new agreement on the joint venture and announce a new corporate name by April, according to the company, hinting at a possible change in the shares. Details are to be unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show in April, officials in Seoul said.
Kia plans to take its business change in China as an opportunity to revamp its marketing and brand strategy.
As part of its effort to attract Chinese customers, Kia will increase advertising and marketing, including customer events and test-driving offered whenever convenient for customers, to make the brand easily approachable.
Kia will also put efforts into localizing its brand by hiring talented and professional Chinese employees.
“In line with the launch of the new joint venture led by our company and with the support of Jiangsu Yueda Group, we will transplant our global capabilities into China and rebound our Chinese business this year through efficient decision-making and substantial business promotion. In the future, we will seek the optimal governance structure for sustainable growth in the Chinese market,” said a Kia official.
By Hong Yoo (email@example.com