South Korean carmakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. expect to post their slowest sales growth in seven years in 2013. Chung Mong Koo, chairman of both Hyundai and Kia, told employees that the carmakers expect to log a 4.1-percent growth in sales to 7.41 million vehicles in 2013. The forecast was lower than the 7.43 million average of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Chung told employees to become more proactive to changes in the vehicle markets to meet business targets. Hyundai and Kia need to deal with a domestic currency that has appreciated more than other major Asian currencies in the past six months, thereby undercutting their capacities to compete globally against larger carmakers like General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp.
Chung attributed the carmakers’ perceived slower growth in 2013 to the current European crisis and the slowing global economy that affect the demand in both international and domestic markets. The carmakers’ expected 4.1-percent sales growth in 2013 is around half the increase their 8-percent increase in 2012.
According to Chung, Hyundai and Kia managed to surpass their 2012 sales target of 7 million units, after selling an estimated 7.12 million vehicles in the year. Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul, remarked that Hyundai and Kia typically provide conservative targets for sales, noting that the South Korean carmakers will likely increase their market share in Europe while outperforming others in China.