Hyundai-Kia Target 10% More Unit Sales in China This Year

Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp., South Korea’s two biggest automakers, aim to increase combined China sales by 10 percent this year as they expand market share in the world’s largest auto market.

Hyundai said in an e-mailed statement that it aims to sell 970,000 vehicles in 2013, a 13 percent increase from last year, while Kia plans deliveries to rise 4 percent to 500,000 units.

The two carmakers sold a combined 1.34 million units last year, becoming the third biggest seller in China, behind Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. Hyundai and Kia are counting on China to contribute one-fifth of sales volume this year to help counter slowing global growth.

“Hyundai’s target exceeds the about-10 percent growth estimate for the auto market in China and shows the company’s confidence in the market” said Lee Sang Hyun, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. “Hyundai and Kia will both be able to take advantage of the improving auto demand in the country, as China is probably the only major auto market that is expected to see sales growth compared with last year.”

The combined global sales target for Hyundai and Kia this year is 7.41 million units. The target represents 4.1 percent growth, the slowest in seven years, and the carmakers today said they face challenges from a slowing global economy and intensified competition.

China’s vehicle demand will expand by 9.6 percent to 13.94 million units, Hyundai and Kia forecast in the statement. Growth will accelerate from last year’s 6.6 percent pace, triggered by expectations of economic stimulus measures by the new government, the companies said.

Hyundai Motor advanced 0.7 percent to 210,500 won at the close in Seoul trading, while Kia rose 2.2 percent to 54,600, the biggest gain since Nov. 29. The benchmark Kospi fell 0.3 percent.

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