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Hyundai China sales to outstrip those at home

BEIJING – Hyundai’s debut of its new Verna subcompact sedan in Beijing, priced at about $10,900, is strong indication that the South Korean automaker’s vehicle sales in China will outstrip those at its home market this year.

The Verna, according to Beijing-Hyundai president Jae-Man Noh, has been designed with Chinese cues like more lavish interiors and more chrome-laden exteriors.

However, Hyundai is not matching its extended U.S. warranty in China, offering only a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty there, compared to 10 years and 100,000 miles in North America.

Hyundai took the occasion of the Verna rollout in China to announce plans to build an assembly plant in Beijing, its third plant in China. Noh said that Hyundai is on track to boost its China sales to about 670,000 units this year, a jump of 18 percent from 2009’s 570,000. Hyundai through July sold 376,554 cars in China, compared with 370,295 in South Korea and 309,888 in the U.S.

Hyundai’s third plant in China will start production in 2012 and have a capacity of about 300,000 cars, boosting its yield at the two current plants from nearly 700,000.

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