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Hyundai group looking at shrinking sales

2015-01-03 10:10

THE POWER TO SURPRISE: Kia’s second-generation Soul MPV has even more refinements along with greater emotional appeal. Image: Dave Fall

YOUK YUNG LEE

SEOUL, South Korea – Automakers Hyundai and its affiliate Kia are forecasting their weakest annual sale growth in more than a decade thanks to more intense competition and a slowing global economy

Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest automaker, said on Friday (Jan 2 2015) that the two hoped to sell a combined 8.2-million vehicles through 2015, only 2.5% more than 2014’s eight-million.

Sales had increased by four percent in each of the two preceding years.

DOUBLE-DIGIT HISTORY

Chairman Chung Mong-koo told employees in his New Year speech that the group should cut costs, increase productivity and share components to fend off competition from Japanese rivals which have the benefit of a weaker yen.

Hyundai/Kia sales grew at double-digit rates until 2011 as the group weathered the 2008 financial crisis by introducing racier designs and better marketing; a weaker Korean won helped.

Sales in 2010 soared by 24% through global exports but the momentum has slowed since 2012 as the won strengthened against the yen and foreign vehicle brands gained popularity in South Korea. Then a series of recalls and quality issues challenged the sister brands in Korea home and overseas.

Chung said the auto group would prioritise brand improvement through research and development and increase investment in eco-friendly technology.
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Read more on:    south korea  |  kia  |  hyundai

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