Hyundai’s rivals in Europe have reduced their production targets due to the economic challenges in the continent but the Korean automaker seeks to set a new vehicle production record at its three-year-old Nosovice, Czech Republic plant. Hyundai rolled out 250,000 cars at the plant last year but for this year, it aims to add a third shift and to have an expanded installed capacity of more than 300,000 units.
When interviewed by Automotive News Europe, Hyundai Europe Chief Operating Officer Allan Rushforth said that this year, Nosovice will have “an output of 45,000 units of the ix20, more than 90,000 units of the ix35 and almost 110,000 units of the i30 specifically for Europe with the remainder sold in neighboring markets.”
Rushforth was interviewed at the sidelines of the press launch for the new i30. This move is a stark contrast to most automakers. Because of the weak demand in Europe, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Toyota said last Friday that they will have a four-day workweek and from having three shifts at the joint venture plant in Kolin, Czech Republic, there would only be two as of May. The partners seek to produce 221,000 units of the Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 minicars in 2012 – around 20% fewer than in 2011.
Hyundai has reinforced its product lineup with the addition of the i40 in 2011 and will launch the second-generation i30 beginning this month. Rushforth said that in 2012, the company plans to set more records.
He added that the company wants to increase its market share in Europe from 2.9% in 2011 to 3.5% this year. He chose not to give a precise sales target due to Europe's economic volatility. Rushforth said that predicting sales volumes is difficult so the focus is on market share, adding that this is the “best way” to compare its performance against its rivals.