SHANGHAI, April 19 (Reuters) - Hyundai's China joint venture is facing "severe challenge" due to a complex political and economic environment and tough local competition, the firm's chairman said on Wednesday, amid a political stand-off between China and South Korea.
Xu Heyi, chairman of Beijing Hyundai, a joint venture between South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co and BAIC Motor Corp Ltd, was speaking at the Shanghai autoshow.
Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp saw combined China sales slump 52 percent in March from a year earlier, hit by anti-Korean sentiment over the planned deployment of a U.S. missile defence system outside Seoul.
"At the moment given the complicated political, economic and competitive market environment, Beijing Hyundai faces what we can describe as severe market challenges," said Xu, adding the firm would not slow its pace of innovation in the market. (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Writing by Adam Jourdan)