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Hyundai cuts prices on SUVs to counter China slowdown

The logo of Hyundai Motor Co. is seen on a wheel of a car at a Hyundai dealership in Seoul January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

BEIJING (Reuters) - South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS> cut the price of two sport-utility vehicle (SUV) models in China by as much as 11.8 percent, the company said on Tuesday, the latest carmaker to do so as a sales slowdown grips the world's largest auto market.

Hyundai said the price cuts of up to 30,000 yuan ($4,832) on the larger Santa Fe model and 20,000 yuan on the ix35 SUV were aimed at increasing its competitiveness in China, where it is due to launch the new Tucson SUV in September.

The South Korean automaker's shipments in China fell 14 percent in the second quarter, leading it to pledge further incentives in order to compete with Chinese automakers.

The price cuts follow similar moves by General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) in China, where car sales are expected to grow 3 percent this year, less than half the pace of the previous year.

Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) has also increased discounts on several popular vehicles, as an economy expanding at its slowest pace in quarter of a century and a stock market slump depresses demand for cars and other consumer goods.

But SUVs remain a bright spot, with many middle-class Chinese trading up from sedans, helping to lift SUV sales by more than a fifth this year, according to IHS Automotive.

(Reporting by Jake Spring and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Miral Fahmy)