Hyundai China, Hyundai Motor Group’s local subsidiary, appointed Li Hongpeng vice president for strategic planning and market development, effective July 1.
Li is the third Chinese auto veteran the Korean auto group has hired since last year to help revive sales of the Hyundai and Kia brands.
In 2018, Li briefly served as Ford Motor Co.’s vice president for sales and marketing for greater China. He previously was executive vice president at Mercedes-Benz’s China sales company.
Hyundai China in March hired Xiang Dongping as vice president to lead sales of Beijing Hyundai, the company’s passenger vehicle joint venture with BAIC Motor Co.
Xiang started his automotive career at Volkswagen Group’s joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp. in 1998. Before joining Hyundai China, he was executive vice president at Volvo Car Corp.’s sales company in China from 2016-17, and later co-founder and marketing chief of electric vehicle startup Enovate Motors.
In September 2019, Hyundai China rehired Li Feng and made him president of Dongfeng Yueda Kia, Kia Motors’ joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group.
Li was as executive vice president of Beijing Hyundai from 2009-13. He later become president of BAIC Motor Co.
In 2017, sales of Beijing Hyundai and Dongfeng Yueda Kia were hit hard as a diplomatic dispute between Beijing and Seoul prompted Chinese consumers to boycott Korean products.
While relations between China and South Korean have recovered, sales at the two joint ventures haven’t rebounded to the level before the bilateral dispute.
From 2016 to 2019, annual sales at Beijing Hyundai dropped from 1.14 million to around 716,000. During the same period, annual deliveries at Dongfeng Yueda Kia slipped from round 650,000 to below 300,000.
In the first five months, Beijing Hyundai and Dongfeng Yueda Kia saw deliveries fall to around 192,200 and 85,000, according to China Passenger Car Alliance, a data unit of the China Automobile Dealers Association.