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Hyundai replaces China executives after sales slump

SEOUL (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Co and sister firm Kia Motors Corp replaced three China executives, the South Korean carmaker said on Tuesday, after sales skidded in the country, the group’s largest market.

Hyundai and Kia, which together are the world’s fifth-largest automaker by sales, saw their July China sales fall by 32 and 33 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

Hyundai shipments in China, the world’s largest auto market, fell 14 percent in the second quarter, weighing on its second-quarter earnings.

The group said Lee Byung-ho was made head of Hyundai’s main joint venture in China, while Kim Gyun was put in charge of Kia’s China joint venture. Tan Tao-Hung was named head of China business strategy for both automakers, and will be based in Seoul, the group said. Their predecessors were reassigned to advisory roles, the group said.

Earlier this month, Hyundai cut the price of two sport-utility vehicle (SUV) models in China by as much as 11.8 percent, while Kia slashed the price of two SUVs by up to 30 percent.

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