Hyundai vehicle sales to accelerate this year

SEOUL: Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea's largest motor vehicle maker, targets an 18% increase in group sales to 100 trillion won (US$99bil) this year, as it invests in new factories in the United States and China. 

The group, which includes affiliate Kia Motors Corp, expects sales to accelerate from growth of 13% last year. Unit sales might rise 16% to 4.12 million vehicles, Seoul-based Hyundai said in a statement yesterday. 

Chairman Chung Mong Koo is building factories overseas to achieve a goal of making the group one of the top five global carmakers by 2010.  

In May, Hyundai Motor started producing a redesigned Sonata sedan at its first US plant in Montgomery, Alabama, and last month released the V-6 engine Azera model to shift the company's image from producing only inexpensive cars. 

“Hyundai is betting overseas sales will help it meet its aggressive targets,” said Kim Hagju, a motor analyst at Samsung Securities Co in Seoul. “It's focusing on increasing its market presence in overseas markets, especially the US, so it can eventually focus on exclusive luxury brands.” 

A model poses next to new Hyundai cars during the 16th Taipei International Auto Show - Reuterspic

The group planned to increase its spending this year by 30% to 8.54 trillion won, it said yesterday, which would be spent on new technology and production machinery. 

The vehicle maker is currently building its second plant in China, where the group aims to build one million vehicles by 2010, or one-fifth of its output, and is also constructing a second factory in India. In Europe, Hyundai is considering a plant in the Czech Republic.  

It might build a US$1.5bil factory in the Czech town of Novosice, Prague-based newspaper Hospodarske Noviny reported last month, without saying from where it got the information. 

The group aimed at having a capacity of 6.5 million vehicles a year by 2010, including 3.9 million vehicles by Hyundai Motor, the statement said. – Bloomberg

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