Legacy automaker to challenge Tesla in Chinese EV market after a rebrand

With a strategic partnership, South Korean automaker Hyundai is looking to turn its trajectory around by accessing the world’s largest electric vehicle market: China.

After struggling for several years, Hyundai seeks to gain leverage under a different brand. Elektrek reports that under the Arcfox name, a joint venture between Hyundai and BAIC Motor Group, the automaker intends to build EVs that rival popular Tesla models, hoping to lure EV buyers away from the legacy brand and other competitors.

Rebranding as Arcfox, Hyundai aims to rebuild its reputation in the Chinese market, where it has struggled since 2017 due to political tensions, Electrek explains. The EV brand has multiple models in production, including the Alpha-S, with similarities to the Tesla Model S and Hyundai’s IONIQ 6.

The new “HI” version appears even closer to a Tesla and is the brand’s first EV powered by Huawei technology. For Hyundai, this venture is the first time the company would produce EVs using a foreign brand.


After years of holding the top spot as the world’s largest producer of planet-heating gases, China’s investments in EVs may spur the country toward a dramatic decline in the use of dirty energy in favor of more sustainable sources.

The growing EV market is also reshaping the face of the country’s economy. As EV sales rise, oil demand continues to fall as the country relies less and less on dirty energy sources. Although it may be bad news for oil-producing countries like those in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a major consumer like China moving away from oil use positively impacts the rest of the world.

Less demand could lower oil prices, and fewer gas-powered vehicles means less heat-trapping gases raising global temperatures, therefore disrupting weather patterns and ecosystems.

Despite helping to bolster the EV industry in China as the first foreign carmaker invited to build a factory in the country without a Chinese partner, Tesla must now work to stand out among a growing roster of EV makers.

Arcfox’s Alpha-S is not Tesla’s only competitor in China’s domestic market, either. Innovations from EV producers such as Li Auto and BYD are ensuring EVs continue to gain traction with buyers throughout the region. By selling under the Arcfox name, Hyundai hopes to regain a meaningful piece of China’s thriving EV market.

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