Sales of Hyundai Motor Co.'s compact car Avante in Korea are being cannibalised by the company's new i30 hatchback, according to sales figures just released.

Launched on July 12, the i30 is the automaker's strategic model for the European market where hatchbacks are much more popular than in Korea.

A report in the Korea Herald said that the Avante's July and August sales fell by 10 and 12%, respectively, from the previous month.

The Avante's sales for the two months fell behind that of perennial best-seller, the Sonata, for the first time this year reducing Avante's lead over the mid-sized sedan to less than 3,000 units. During the first half of the year, the Avante outsold the Sonata - Hyundai's best selling vehicle for 10 consecutive years - by nearly 5,000 units.

Hyundai officials attributed the fall in the Avante's sales to the growing popularity of the i30. During the first 20 days after its launch, more than 900 units of the hatchback were sold in the country, followed by more than 2,000 units in August.

At nearly 3,000 units, the i30's July and August sales account for almost half of the 6,000 unit sales target the company has for the year, the report said.