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 |  Oct 27 2011, 10:00 AM

While many other automakers, including Japanese and American manufacturers, have taken a bit of a battering in recent years due to economic uncertainty and natural disasters, Hyundai and Kia have been bucking the trend, reporting steady gains in market share, particularly in entry level segments, where their vehicles have proved appealing to cost conscious buyers.

However, despite steady gains, primarily at the expense of U.S. and Japanese rivals, the South Korean duo is expected to see demand tapering off due to limited manufacturing supply. That said, both brands plan on achieving combined global sales of 7 million units next year, up from more than 6.5 million in 2011, which also marked a record total.

“We expect to reach (the target) should we run our factories at full capacity,” stated Hyundai president Chung Jin-haeng in a news interview with Reuters, though he did add mention that actual sales target number has not yet been finalized.

However some industry analysts, such as Suh Sung-moon at Korea Investment and Securities, believe that Hyundai and Kia’s own estimates of 2012 sales are conservative and both companies could easily surpass these totals in the first half of the year.

“I expect Hyundai and Kia will be able to achieve sales of 7.2 million vehicles next year, with Hyundai’s China plant starting production and Kia introducing a third shift at its Slovakia plant,”  Sung-moon stated.

If achieved, and Toyota continues its spiral downward, Hyundai could potentially move into third place among global automakers, ousting the Japanese giant.

[Source: Automotive News]