Hyundai chairman to discuss carmaker’s growth strategy

Hyundai chairman to discuss carmaker’s growth strategy
Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo

Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo will gather together the heads of global operations later this month to discuss the next growth strategy following the group's record car sales this year, industry sources said Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors sold 7.24 million vehicles as of November, up 4.8 per cent from a year ago. The Korean automotive duo said they were set to sell more than 8 million vehicles this year, their biggest-ever car sales.

The Hyundai chief, however, appeared to be still hungry for growth.

During the upcoming Seoul meeting with some 60 regional heads, he is expected to urge them to further accelerate their sales pitch next year.

"It is meaningful that the record sales come at a time when Japanese carmakers are upping their offensive, taking advantage of a favourable foreign exchange rate," said a Hyundai executive, declining to be named.

"But the chairman will call for the next step for further growth, rather than allowing us to enjoy the moment."

The group had earlier set this year's sales goal at 7.86 million vehicles. As Hyundai and Kia succeeded in defying the unfavorable market situation, they recently adjusted the target figure to 8 million.

For the last month of the year, the carmakers said they were pinning high hopes on corporate demand to soar ahead of the year-end reshuffle period. New models like the Kia Carnival and Sorento are also selling strong, they said.

Globally, Hyundai is the fourth automotive group to hit the 8 million milestone in sales, after Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors. Sales of Toyota and Volkswagen are expected to exceed 10 million vehicles each this year.

Hyundai and Kia will be facing an uphill battle next year as car sales in developed markets such as the US and Europe are recovering, albeit slowly, while the growth in emerging markets, especially China, is also stagnant.

Next year, the Korean auto giant will be pouring more resources into elevating its global production capacity. With related talks with local governments speeding up, it plans to build two new plants each in Mexico and China in the coming months.

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