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Shanghai show: Hyundai, Kia in sedan-led China push

Driving force: The name of Kia’s new Chinese joint-venture brand Horki is derived from the Mandarin characters that signify China and driving.

Korean car-makers flex Chinese muscles with Kia’s Horki brand, Hyundai Mistra sedan

Hyundai logo22 Apr 2013

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

SOUTH KOREAN car-makers Hyundai and Kia both unveiled sedan-shaped statements of intent to continue their push into the massive Chinese market at this week’s Shanghai motor show.

Hyundai unveiled the Mistra sedan concept, a 4710mm-long China-only model intended to fit between the Elantra small car (4530mm) and Sonata mid-sizer (4820mm) known here as the i45.

Meanwhile, sister company Kia used a sleek Cerato-based sedan concept to announce the arrival of its new Chinese market brand Horki, which will be sold through the company’s joint-venture Dongfeng Yueda Kia (DYK).

Hyundai’s Mistra – named after a city in southern Greece famous for its ruins of the Byzantine empire – features a similar grille to the i45 but has a larger, squarer headlight design.

Its tail-light clusters are more consistent with current Hyundai styling, but with a stepped design making way for a chrome strip running across the boot-lid fascia above the numberplate.

Hyundai describes the Mistra’s exterior design theme as “grand”, consisting of “modern simplicity, understated sportiness and smart luxury”, and said the Frost Jade paintwork reflects the preference of Chinese customers.

The Mistra concept previews a car that will go on sale in China later this year, aimed at young parents in their 20s and 30s as Hyundai “accelerates efforts in becoming a leading brand in China”.

1 center imageLeft: Hyundai Mistra concept.

Kia’s introduction of its Horki brand – half of Kia’s new two-brand strategy in China – was shown via an unnamed concept that took pride of place on the DYK joint-venture stand.

Featuring a Jaguar-esque mesh grille and wrap-around headlights penetrating deeply into the front guards, the DYK concept also showcases the new two-branch Horki logo.

The sleek shares some design elements with current Kia range, including the shape of the tail-lights and the two-tone black and silver alloy wheels, and its swooping coupe-like roofline is complemented by heavily scalloped sides with sharply protruding chrome-edged side skirts.

Kia says the Horki name is derived from two Chinese characters, Hor, signifying China and Ki signifying driving, which combined suggest harmony and driving.

Horki vehicles will launch in the second half of 2015, with vehicles produced at one of three factories in Yancheng, around 300km northwest of Shanghai.

No decision has been made over the production of a car based on the concept, but a full product portfolio is promised, including at least one using an alternative powertrain.

Kia says the new brand is “aimed at better meeting the specific needs of Chinese consumers”, with Kia vehicles majoring on “passion, sportiness and style” while Horki represents the “practical, economic and trustworthiness” side of the business.

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