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2011 marked another year of success for South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia. Having capitalized on its Japanese rivals’ year of challenges, sales for Hyundai and Kia have climbed like a rocket.
Final global sales numbers for 2011 are 4.05 million and 2.54 million for Hyundai and Kia respectively. Boasting an increase in overseas sales by 14 percent, Hyundai sold 610,000 units in India and 730,000 in China. Kia’s overseas sales increased by 24 percent.
Determined to keep the momentum going, the South Korean automakers plan to increase global sales by another 6.1 percent this year for a combined sales amount of 7 million vehicles. While it is a conservative amount compared to the growth of the last two years, Hyundai will be taking 2012 as a year to thoroughly improve the quality of its vehicles and to invest more in research and development. Clearly learning from Toyota‘s misstep, Hyundai hopes that its concentration on quality control as well as on other areas that might have been overlooked during the company’s rapid growth can help to avoid enormous recalls that would damage the company in the future.
It’s rare to hear about a recruitment drive these days, but Volvo Car Corporation is in the process of hiring up to 1200 new people over the next 12 months.
Most of the new hiring will be in the company’s Research & Development arm, as Volvo pushes forward with advanced powertrain technology in an effort to save fuel consumption on its upcoming vehicles, such as plug-in Hybrids . Other hires will be in areas such as IT; marketing and purchasing, with a few in manufacturing.
Volvo has seen its sales grow in recent months; up by some 11.6 percent versus 2009; spurring increased vehicle production at its manufacturing plants in Ghent; Belgium and Torslanda; Sweden.
“We need to expand our operations to enable development of the highly competitive and fuel efficient products and technologies which are part of our growth plan”, declared Volvo’s President and CEO Stefan Jacoby in reference to the recruitment drive.
[Source: Volvo Car Corporation]
Honda‘s manufacturing plants will remain closed, while the heart of their company, the research & development facility in Tochigi, Japan, will undergo months of repairs after being severely damaged by the earthquake that devastated Japan earlier in March.
Honda originally planned to keep their plants closed until March 27th but has decided to extend the closures until April 3rd. Workers at Tochigi will be transferred to other locations. The company released a statement claiming “based on the expectation that it will take several months until the complete recovery of these facilities, Honda decided to temporally transfer some functions such as the automobile product development, development of manufacturing technologies and procurement to Honda operations in other locations such as Sayama, Suzuka, and Wako.”
Supplies of vehicles like the Honda Fit, CR-V and Acura TSX will be affected by the production delays. One person died and 30 were injuried when a wall at a cafeteria at the Tochigi facility collapsed. Honda held meetings at a nearby restaurant after employees were barred from entering the building for safety reasons. Honda’s parts suppliers have also told the company that it will take a week for them to resume normal production schedules.
[Source: Automotive News]