Hyundai Motor last week agreed to set up a new sales joint venture in Vietnam to help lift sales in the developing Southeast Asian country. 

The joint venture, with local conglomerate Thanh Cong Group, which already has Hyundai dealerships in the country, will focus on expanding the South Korean automaker's sales and aftersales network. Hyundai said it wants to have in place a local network capable of handling 100,000 new vehicle sales per year in Vietnam.

Hyundai and Kia sold more than 50,000 vehicles combined in Vietnam last year, mostly light commercial vehicles including the best-selling Kia K-series light truck. Kia vehicles are assembled and sold through the local Thaco Group.

The overall vehicle market in Vietnam expanded by over 10% to close to 277,000 units in 2018, according to data released by the Vietnam Automotive Manufacturers Association, driven by GDP growth of over 7%. Further strong growth is expected this year, as the market continues to recover from a sharp slowdown in imports following a change in regulations at the beginning of 2018.