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Hyundai Motor Co. said Friday it expects to increase sales in the United States and China in 2008 by introducing new models after missing targets last year.
Hyundai spokesman Jake Jang said the company expects to sell 515,000 vehicles in the US this year, a gain of about 10 percent. Hyundai sold 467,009 cars in the US last year, he said.
“We set an aggressive target for this year,” Jang said. The company is confident its new Genesis luxury car and a revamped Sonata sedan will bolster sales in its largest overseas market, he said.
Jang attributed the failure to meet last year’s sales goals to weak demand for autos in the US amid consumer worries over subprime mortgages and higher oil prices.
Defaults on high-risk housing loans in the US, the world’s largest economy, have led to tighter global credit since last summer and dented consumer sentiment amid falling stock and housing prices.
Hyundai lowered its 2007 US sales target 8.1 per cent to 510,000 in September, partly as a result of the subprime woes.
Besides the new models, Hyundai has planned an aggressive marketing campaign and an upgrade of its US dealer network, Jang said.
In China, Hyundai’s third biggest foreign market where it will open a second factory in May, the company expects to sell 380,000 vehicles, Jang said, up 64 per cent from last year’s 231,137 total.
Hyundai plans to introduce two new models in China this year, the Genesis and the Elantra sedan, Jang said.
“We didn’t have any new models in China last year, but competitors did,” he said, explaining why Hyundai did not meet its 2007 sales target of 260,000 vehicles.
Hyundai announced Wednesday that global sales would increase nearly 20 per cent from 2007 to 3.11 million vehicles. It did not give country or regional breakdowns at that time, except for South Korea.
Global sales grew 4.1 per cent to 2.6 million vehicles in 2007.
Hyundai spokesman Ki Jin-ho said Friday that the automaker had yet to make individual sales forecasts for the European Union, its second-biggest market, and India, its fourth largest.
The automaker sold 320,000 vehicles in the EU last year, he said, and about 200,000 in India.
Hyundai, which together with affiliate Kia Motors Corp. forms the world’s sixth-largest automaker, also has overseas plants in India, Turkey and the US. It is building one in the Czech Republic. (AP)
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