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Hyundai Says Elantra U.S. Sales Growth to Slow on Plant Capacity

Hyundai Motor Co. (005380)’s U.S. sales unit said the increase in the number of Elantra compact sedans sold this year will slow compared with last year’s 41 percent gain because of tight factory capacity.

“The growth will be capped only because of production capacity,” Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai Motor America’s executive vice president of national sales, said today in an interview at the Washington auto show.

The company’s Montgomery, Alabama, plant that builds the Elantra and midsize Sonata car produced 338,000 vehicles last year, more than 10 percent above the factory’s official capacity.

Hyundai, South Korea’s largest automaker, sold 186,361 Elantras in the U.S. last year, leading the company to a 20 percent sales gain to 645,691 vehicles. Hyundai captured 5.1 percent of the U.S. market in 2011, up from 4.6 percent the year before and 3 percent in 2008, according to Autodata Corp., a Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based researcher.

“We’re going to sell what we did last year but our growth curve will plateau just because of capacity,” he said.

The Elantra won the North American Car of the Year award at the Detroit auto show earlier this month, the second time in four years that Hyundai had claimed the honor.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Washington at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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