SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) — Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Corp. slumped in their three major markets last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, company data showed Sunday.

Hyundai and Kia, South Korea’s two biggest carmakers, saw their sales slump in the United States, Europe and China in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic affected vehicle production and sales.

Among the three markets, the automakers performed worst in China, with their combined sales plunging 27 percent to 908,828 units last year from 664,744 the previous year, their sales data showed.

They have suffered declining sales in the world’s biggest automobile market since 2017, when Seoul and Beijing were at odds over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system called THAAD in South Korea in 2017.

In Europe, their sales declined 21 percent to 841,520 autos last year from 1.06 million units a year ago, while their U.S. sales fell 7.6 percent to 1.33 million units from 1.22 million during the same period, the data said.

Hyundai and Kia fared better than their rivals in the world’s most important U.S. market last year, helped by robust sales of models such as Hyundai’s Palisade SUV and Kia’s Telluride SUV.

An improved product mix and lower incentives also helped them report relatively better results in the U.S. compared to other markets.

Hyundai’s sales figures included the number of models sold under its independent Genesis brand. Hyundai currently sells the G70, G80, and G90 sedan and the GV80 SUV with the Genesis plaque in global markets.

For the whole of 2020, Hyundai’s global sales fell 15 percent to 3.74 million units from 4.43 million a year ago. Kia’s declined 5.9 percent to 2.61 million from 2.77 million during the cited period.

Hyundai and Kia aim to sell a total 7.08 million units this year, 12 percent higher than their sales of 6.35 million last year.

To achieve the target, they plan to focus on promoting recreational vehicles and launching more localized models to woo customers in the major markets.’

This file photo, taken on Jan. 14, 2021, shows Hyundai and Kia’s headquarters buildings in Yangjae, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)