Deals - Asia

Hyundai Motor may raise stake in China joint venture

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Hyundai Motor is pictured at the second media day for the Shanghai auto show in Shanghai, China April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor 005380.KS said on Tuesday it was considering raising its stake in its underperforming truck joint venture in China, potentially joining other foreign automakers in boosting ownership in the world's biggest car market.

Sichuan Hyundai Motor is Hyundai’s only commercial car venture in China that makes cargo trucks and buses.

Beijing relaxed rules last year on foreign firms controlling any Chinese automakers or joint venture, removing caps on those making fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Limits on commercial vehicle makers ease in 2020, and by 2022 for the wider car market.

Hyundai is reviewing various plans to strengthen the joint venture’s competitiveness in changing market conditions in China, the firm said in an emailed statement, without elaborating.

Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE is exploring the prospect of buying a big stake in its Chinese electric vehicle joint venture partner, sources have told Reuters, while BMW has agreed to buy control of its main joint venture in China.

Sichuan Hyundai Motor is jointly owned by Hyundai and China’s Sichuan Nanjun Automotive Group, with a stake of 50% each.

The Sichuan joint venture, which started operations in 2013, produced 12,228 commercial vehicles last year, down by more than half from 28,786.

That means that their production facilities are heavily under utilised given that they have a capacity of making 160,000 trucks and 10,000 buses a year.

Reporting by Ju-min Park and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Jacqueine Wong