Hyundai Giving Top Seller Elantra a Revamp to Boost Demand

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Hyundai Motor Co. is counting on a revamp of its best-selling Elantra sedan to help reverse flagging sales at home and in China.

The Korean carmaker will target 700,000 deliveries of the sixth-generation Elantra in 2016, including 110,000 units in South Korea, according to a company statement. A hexagonal grille replaces the outgoing version’s wing-shaped front end, and Hyundai designers added more dynamic lines to the body.

The new Elantra will “play a major role in newly strengthening Hyundai’s foundation for growth in the current difficult environment,” Vice Chairman Yang Woong Chul said in the statement.

Hyundai needs new products to stem a sales slump in China and South Korea, the carmaker’s largest and most profitable markets. The last Elantra redesign won acclaim including the 2012 North American Car of the Year award, an accomplishment that rattled the likes of Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG. Hyundai has since been humbled by foreign brands gaining ground in its domestic market and unfavorable exchange rates undermining profit.

The Elantra, which competes against Honda Motor Co.’s Civic and Ford Motor Co.’s Focus, will sell for 15.31 million won ($12,850) to 23.71 million won in South Korea. Hyundai aims to sell 50,000 units in the market this year.

Since Hyundai introduced the Elantra in 1990, the company has sold more than 10 million units worldwide. Deliveries of the sedan, known as Avante in South Korea, have exceeded 2.6 million in Korea and 3 million in China.

Hyundai shares fell 1 percent to 155,000 won in Seoul trading as of 12:04 p.m. The benchmark Kospi index rose 2.3 percent.

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