It would appear China is falling in love with Hyundai, as the South Korean brand's Elantra model becomes the country's number-one selling foreign car.

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In a fast-growing market, Hyundai has seen a rapid rise in China as its product goes from being virtually unknown just seven years ago, to one that has quickly become known for its reputation of "solid value".

Clever marketing, including a new model whose name sounds like "falling in love with you" in Chinese, plus cash incentives under Beijing's massive economic stimulus plan, have helped Hyundai carve out a comfortable niche for itself between domestic brands popular for their cheap prices, and foreign brands, such as Volkswagen and Toyota, known for their higher quality but also higher prices.

"Hyundai is somewhere in between. It's more expensive than Chinese brands and cheaper than other global brands, but still delivers a relatively high level of quality," said Mr Klaus Paur, director for global industry consultancy TNS's North Asia automotive division."That's what makes Korean cars so successful especially in the segment where consumers get government incentives."

On a manufacturer level, Hyundai is now the fourth best-selling automotive brand in China, ahead of Honda and Nissan, according to J.D. Power and Associates.