Hyundai, Kia expect auto sales jump in 2022 amid chip shortage


FILE PHOTO: Employees of Hyundai Motor Group leave after the company's new year ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, January 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Corp on Monday forecast that their combined global sales will jump 12.1% in 2022, even as last year's sales fell short of target due to a global chip shortage.

The companies sold 6.67 million vehicles in 2021, about 3.7% less than their combined target of 6.92 million vehicles, largely due to supply problems including the chip shortage, which drove down vehicle shipment.

They said they would target global sales of 7.47 million vehicles this year.

"In 2022, Hyundai Motor plans to expand its market share and strengthen profitability through efforts to stabilise chip supply and demand, adjust vehicle production schedules, strengthen electric vehicle lineups as well as optimising sales profit and loss by region," Hyundai Motor said in a statement.

The shortage, due to supply problems and a surge in demand for consumer electric gadgets during the pandemic, has hit the auto industry hard, with millions of vehicles worldwide not being produced because important parts are missing.

Analysts said this year's target seemed reasonable.

Lee Jae-il, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities, expected demand for vehicles to stay strong in 2022, underpinned by pent-up demand from consumers unable to buy vehicles last year due to supply shortages.

"It appears that the chip shortage has been showing some signs of easing ... however, rising raw material prices would likely have (an) impact on their profitability," Lee added.

Shares in Hyundai Motor closed 0.7% higher, versus a 0.4% rise in the benchmark market KOSPI.

In October, Hyundai Motor cut its 2021 global sales target by about 4% to 4 million vehicles from 4.16 million vehicles.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Joyce Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue, Stephen Coates, and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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