South Korea’s Hyundai Motor plans to aggressively raise auto sales in Europe this year even as growth falters globally, saying the difficult market situation there offers an opportunity to increase market share.
The company, which ranks fifth in global auto sales together with affiliate Kia Motors, expects global sales growth to more than halve this year. Hyundai, the first major Asian automaker reporting fourth-quarter earnings, today posted a 2.0 trillion won net profit for October-December. That is up from 1.45 trillion won in net profit a year earlier and from 1.92 trillion won in the third quarter. Hyundai said it aimed to raise its global sales by 5.7 per cent to 4.29 million vehicles this year after its 2011 sales beat its target. This would mark a slowdown for the automaker, which has achieved double-digit sales growth in recent years including its 12.4 per cent growth last year.
In contrast, Toyota forecast a 21 per cent jump in 2012 sales to a record as it recovers from production losses that arose from Thailand’s floods and the Japanese earthquake last year.
Hyundai Motor posted a 38 per cent rise in profit for the fourth quarter, slightly missing forecasts, as it continued to outperform in overseas markets such as the US and Europe.