Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors are targeting a 6.1 percent increase in worldwide sales this year by investing in research and development and boosting quality. The companies aim to achieve combined sales of 7 million automobiles, Chung Mong Koo (chairman of the two automakers) said in a speech to employees in Seoul on Monday.
Chung revealed that in 2011, Hyundai and affiliate Kia sold about 6.6 million units, exceeding their target of 6.3 million. The Seoul-based automakers have increased their worldwide sales as Japan-based competitors such as Toyota Motor Corp. were adversely affected by a strong yen and production stoppages after the major earthquake in March as well as massive flooding in Thailand. They also benefited from the rise in demand for models like the Forte compact of Kia and Sonata sedan of Hyundai.
According to analyst Park In Woo at LIG Investment & Securities Co., the growth target is conservative compared to the last two years. This year, Hyundai is taking control of areas like quality that may be overlooked after a rapid growth in order to avoid the recalls that damaged Toyota, Park stated.
In 2012, the automobile industry is expected to show "slow" growth as well as "intense" competition between companies, Chung said. He did not disclose separate target statistics for Kia and Hyundai. The automakers intend to spend 5.1 trillion won in research and development, an 11 percent increase from last year, according to a December 29 statement.
Based on a regulatory filing in South Korea on Monday, Hyundai sold 4.05 million units in 2010. The company also said that it increased offshore sales by 14 percent, selling around 610,000 units in India and 730,000 units in China. [source: Autonews]