[THE INVESTOR] Hyundai Motor Group, the owner of South Korea’s two biggest carmakers, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors wrapped up its year-end strategy meeting on Dec.20, with plans to expand its SUV and new energy vehicle lines next year.
The group will introduce more sport utility vehicle tailored to local markets and new energy vehicle lines to spur growth in 2017, the company said on Dec.20. Both carmakers will unveil new small SUVs next year in Korea and in Europe and will also begin producing SUVs at the fourth assembly line in Changzhou, China, to cater to the Chinese market.
It also aims to widen its share in the NEV market with a new lineup of Grandeur hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of Hyundai Ioniq and Kia Niro next year. The new energy vehicle market is currently led by Japanese carmaker Toyota which took up 51 percent of the total NEV sales last year. Hyundai and Kia, meanwhile, came at forth with a 3 percent market share.
Kia Motors' Niro
The company also plans to boost sales of its premium brand Genesis with a new product line in Korea and in the US next year, it said.
The group’s official global strategic meeting is usually held for two days but this year’s meeting was stretched to a four-day meeting to add unofficial sessions attended by 50 heads of Hyundai and Kia overseas sales units, giving them ample time to review this year’s sales and freely discuss strategies for next year instead of just giving reports.
The year’s meeting also discussed various issues and scenarios including a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a pledge by US President-elect Donald Trump, slow growth of the emerging markets and an interest rate hike in the US.
This year has been challenging for the conglomerate. The group saw its domestic market share drop below 58.9 percent in October for the first time since the group was formed in 2000 with imported cars expanding their presence here.
Analysts see that the company would set a combined sales target of about 8.2 million units for 2017 up from just over 8.1 million units this year, as a forth assembly line was added in Changzhou, China and Kia’s factory in Mexico.
The company estimated the global auto industry would grow 1.8 percent in 2017, the lowest since the financial crisis in 2009.
On Dec.20, the meeting was led by Hyundai Motor’s Vice Chairman Chung Euisun and Kia Vice President Lee Hyoung-Keun and the final results will be announced during the first group meeting on Jan. 2 next year.
By Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)