Hyundai Motor Co. has made steady progress in China in recent years by courting consumers on reliability and price. Now it’s betting that a new factory and an updated version of its top-selling model will give it the edge it needs to further boost sales of both small cars and more expensive -- and more profitable -- vehicles.
Hyundai this month will open the 6.5 billion yuan ($1 billion) Beijing plant, where it plans to produce Elantra sedans that are slightly longer and taller than the current model in a bow to the Chinese penchant for space and spice in cars. The company expects the extra legroom and snazzier look to help it gain market share in China’s small-auto segment, where demand comes predominantly from people purchasing their first car. That, in turn, could help Hyundai as those buyers trade up.