Hyundai, a heavy hitter among global auto exporters, is reeling from a couple of punches thrown at home.

Volkswagen sold 7,238 units of its Golf hatchback in Korea last year, some 12% better than the 6,444 deliveries of Hyundai’s i30. It was the first time a foreign brand outsold any locally built Hyundai.

The Ulsan-produced i30 hatchback is marketed in the U.S. and Canada as the GT version of the best-selling Elantra. It is marketed as the i30 in Europe, where it is produced at Hyundai’s Nosovice plant in the Czech Republic.

The Golf’s coup validated a prediction by Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo, who told senior management two years ago that the biggest threats facing Hyundai and sister automaker Kia were competition from imported vehicles, sluggish overseas markets and the devalued Japanese yen.

The Golf in 2014 was priced 40% to 50% higher than the i30, depending on engine and package, which made winning the niche all the more remarkable. The Golf sticker price was 30.5 million-37.5 million won ($28,000-$34,500), compared with just 18.9 million-24.8 million won ($17,350-$22,820) for the i30.

In line with Chung’s demands Hyundai is fighting back, unveiling in late January a revamped, Ulsan-built i30 featuring new styling and better fuel economy than the Golf. Reworked like the new i30 produced at Nosovice and released in October, it sports a new front end, 7-speed transmission and 1.6L VGT engine that puts out 136 hp.

The ’15 i30’s price has been raised to pay for the facelift and improved safety features such as tire-pressure monitoring. Fuel economy is improved 10% compared with the previous model with a 41.9 mpg (5.6 L/100 km) rating. Yet that is lower than the competing Golf’s rating of 44.5 mpg (5.3 L/100 km).

Trying to fight off imports in another segment, Hyundai has been disappointed by the reception given the all-new, Korea-specific Aslan. The highly touted midsize near-luxury sedan was designed to compete against upmarket imports such as the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A4, Lexus ES 350, Ford Taurus, Honda Accord and models from other Korean automakers.

It debuted in May at the Busan Motor Show and was released in October in 3.0L and 3.5L Gdi direct-injection V-6 versions. Taking its name from the Turkish word for lion, Hyundai pitched the sleek Aslan as having both the beauty and poise of the lion, as well as ferocity in pursuing its prey.

The announced sales goal was 22,000 units for 2015 and for 6,000 in the two months it would be on the market in 2014. The Aslan received accolades for its good looks, ride, handling and even price and fuel economy, but its roar didn’t intimidate importers.

Despite high pre-order numbers, the usual push accompanying a new-car debut did not materialize. Instead of hitting the 2014 target of 6,000 units, only 2,306 Aslans were sold. January sales totaled only 1,070, far short of the 1,800 monthly average needed to reach the 2015 goal of 22,000.

Hyundai reacted in early February by announcing a discount of 3 million won ($2,800), a 7.5% reduction in the 3.0L Aslan’s starting price of 39.9 million won ($36,750). Current Hyundai owners get an additional discount of 1 million won ($920), lowering the Aslan’s sticker price a full 10%.

The price cut applies to vehicles produced in 2014, but analysts think it probably will stay in force and a production-year differentiation will not be made.

In Korea, sales incentives usually come in the form of giveaway add-ons such as DVD players and via sticker-price discounts that once were unheard of.