Hyundai Motor's main joint venture in China, Beijing Hyundai Motor, is stepping up its new model launches to help offset slowing demand in the world's largest new vehicle market, according to local reports citing a company official.

Beijing Hyundai's deputy general manager Fan Jingtao confirmed the company sold 560,000 vehicles in the first nine months of 2018, up by just over 14% on last year's depressed levels which was when China demonstrated its disapproval of South Korea's deployment of the US THAAD missile defence shield.

Jingtao said there was rising pressure to meet the company's 300,000 unit fourth quarter sales target after the overall Chinese vehicle market dropped by close to 12% year on year in September, the third consecutive monthly decline.

Jingtao added that the company "is cautious" about the outlook for next year, given the rising price and product competition in the market following the significant investment in new capacity that has taken place industry wide.

The company launched the new La Festa high performance sedan at the end of last week, developed at its R&D centre in Yantai in Shandong province for China. It is part of Hyundai's so-called 'transverse matrix' product layout launched last year which focuses on key technology based segments including basic, performance and new energy vehicle systems, and using intelligent and network connected technology.

The La Festa sedan is sold in five variants at CNY119,800 to CNY154,800 (US$17,300-$22,340), featuring smart technologies including Hyundai's smart sense system and a Baidu intelligent connection system.

The company expects to sell 20,000 units in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 100,000 next year.

Early next year Beijing Hyundai plans to launch the new generation Santa Fe which will come with an elongated wheelbase to suit local tastes and a number of smart systems.

A plug-in hybrid version of the Elantra sedan will be launched in mid-2019, followed by the new ix25 and the 10th generation Sonata later in the year.