South Korea’s Hyundai Motor and its domestic affiliate Kia Motors have enjoyed moderate sales rebounds in China this year after suffering sharp declines in 2017, after dealers were targeted by boycotts and protests following the Beijing government’s anger at Korea’s deployment of the US THAAD missile defence shield.

After plunging by over 31% to 785,430 units in 2017, Hyundai sales in China rebounded by 11% to 631,171 units in the first 10 months of 2018 from 569,356 units in the same period of last year.

The automaker is still struggling to reverse 2017’s 11% sales decline to 685,555 units in the US and 2018 sales were still down 1.8% year to date (YTD) at 554,726 units from 564,750 the previous year. It is banking on the new Santa Fe SUV for a sales recovery there.

In Europe, Hyundai sales rose 6.1% to 454,822 units YTD from 428,658 last year, after growing 6.4% to 528,000 units in 2017.

Kia sales in China were up 9.1% YTD at 278,382 units from 255,182, having plunged 44% to 364,022 in 2017.

In the US, Kia sales were also lower this year, by 1% at 497,144 from 502,327, also after having declined by almost 9% to 589,668 in 2017.

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In Europe, Kia sales increased 5.8% to 417,698 units YTD, from 394,835 previously, after growing 8.5% to a record 472,125 in 2017.

The two brands aim to sell a combined 7.55m units worldwide in 2018, up over 4% on last year’s 7.25m.