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Hyundai-Kia braces for difficult year

Hyundai-Kia braces for difficult year

World’s fifth-largest carmaker bracing for tough business conditions at both home and abroad

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Published : 2013-12-23 19:43
Updated : 2013-12-23 19:43

Chung Mong-koo

Hyundai Motor Group expects to surpass its annual sales goal this year on the back of brisk overseas growth, but domestic sales were far from stellar, the company said at a meeting of overseas office heads presided over by group chairman Chung Mong-koo.

During the January to November period this year, 6.9 million Hyundai and Kia cars were sold, suggesting that the sister auto firms would likely surpass this year’s sales goal of 7.41 million to reach up to 7.5 million units.

This was mainly thanks to overseas sales that rose nearly 8 percent on-year up to the November period.

But on the home turf, Hyundai’s performance was lackluster at best as its market share slid below 80 percent.

As of November, Hyundai and Kia cars together held a 76 percent market share, according to figures from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. Sales fell 3 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively, for the Hyundai and Kia brands.

In contrast, foreign carmakers held more than a 12 percent market share as of November this year, with the figure expected to further grow next year when more than 170,000 new overseas-made cars are expected to be registered.

A lack of eye-catching new cars and fuel-efficient diesels are cited as the reasons behind Hyundai’s slow domestic performance, in addition to the continued labor activity that has caused production disruption worth 1.2 trillion won for the carmaker this year.

Mindful of these and other impediments, Chung told the overseas chiefs that “next year will be a critical year.”

“Many believe the global financial crisis will subside and make room for growth, meaning only those capable of proactively respond to these and other changes can survive,” he said.

The global auto market is expected to expand by about 4.1 percent in 2014, according to the Korea Auto Research Institute.

The strong Korean currency against the U.S. dollar also is likely to undermine Hyundai’s competence in the global markets, along with the tariff cuts for cars imported from the EU that went into effect in July.

Even the overseas business conditions are not very favorable for Hyundai, which has suffered from faltering sales in the U.S. and Chinese markets.

In the meantime, Hyundai has unveiled the New Genesis, a full model change of the company’s flagship Genesis lineup that Hyundai hopes will become a game changer in the premium car segment.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)

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