Hyundai eyes growing share of US market

Hyundai will roll out a hybrid version of the Sonata this summer. (SUPPLIED)

Hyundai aims to build on its 2009 recession-busting success by nabbing more share of the US market this year with new fuel efficient models and a strengthened distribution network, a company executive says.

"We have very high hopes for the US and total growth and we're ready for it," said David Zuchowski, sales chief for Hyundai Motor America, on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.

The South Korean automaker increased its market share in the United States to 4.2 per cent in 2009 against three per cent a year earlier, thanks to an eight per cent Hyundai sales surge in a market that plummeted an alarming 21 per cent overall last year. For 2010, Zuchowski predicts the US market will reach 11.5 million vehicle sales, about a 10 per cent increase over last year's 10.4 million sold, with the second half of the year better than the first.

"We think that we will increase our sales and our market share," he said.

"We expect big things this year with lots of new products" and a strengthening of the brand.

Hyundai was "very ambitious and determined", he said, adding the company was seeking "consistent" year-on-year growth.

And it believes it has tapped into a vein of consumer economising and uncertainty over the last year by offering its Hyundai Assurance programme, which allows buyers to return their cars if they lose their job.

"The financial collapse forced people to look for value and fuel efficiency," Zuchowski said.

The company also wants to strengthen its distribution network and become "the most efficient company in the industry".

This summer Hyundai will roll out a hybrid version of the Sonata, its first foray into this niche.

"The composition of our market is going to change quickly because of the federal mandate" to boost car efficiency of cars and light trucks, he said.

"Our industry is going to become more like the European industry in the next couple of years, with more smaller cars, but that doesn't mean they have to compromise on performance," Zuchowski added.

 

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