The import ban applies only to those Hyundai-Kia models imported from South Korea and will not affect the carmaker’s vehicles that are produced in China. Hyundai and Kia sell more than half a million vehicles each year in China but only about 50,000 of these are imported from South Korea. The vast majority are manufactured locally via joint-ventures with a number of Chinese firms.
A spokesman for the Chinese government confirmed to Reuters that the import permit was canceled last month and that negotiations with the carmaker were already underway to settle the issue. A Hyundai-Kia spokesman also confirmed the ban, stating that the company had not received import permits since mid-September.
The latest turn of events will come as a blow to the South Korean carmaker, which is currently in the process of positioning its Hyundai label as a premium offering in China with vehicles like the new Genesis Sedan and upcoming Coupe.