Hyundai to Bypass Dealers with Subcompact SUV

  • By Yoon Hyung-jun

    August 05, 2021 12:47

    Hyundai is trialing direct online car sales with a new subcompact SUV made on consignment by Gwangju Global Motors (GGM) and slated for launch in mid-September.

    The SUV targets mostly younger customers with a rock-bottom price tag, so the carmaker has to save costs wherever possible.

    GGM was established in 2019 as a joint venture between Hyundai and the city of Gwangju to create jobs for young people there.

    "We are talking to our union about selling the car online," Hyundai said Wednesday. The aim is to allay fears of dealership staff that their jobs may soon become obsolete.

    Hyundai already sells cars online in the U.K. and India, but Korea's powerful labor unions could make trouble here.

    Hyundai hopes to persuade workers by stressing that the sales volume is small. "Online sales will be restricted to vehicles manufactured on consignment by GGM," a Hyundai spokesman said. "We have no plans to expand them to other vehicles."

    Foreign brands Tesla, BMW and Peugeot also sell their cars directly to customers online here, and Renault Samsung and Ssangyong have done the same either online or on home-shopping channels. 

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