[THE INVESTIR] Hyundai Motor has kicked off a task force to tap deeper into the ASEAN market in an apparent move to offset its sluggish sales in China amid the prolonged diplomatic tensions, according to Chosun Biz on Oct. 25.
The new team, affiliated with the carmaker’s overseas sales office, will research the market trends and related government regulations. Not just marketing and planning staff but also production and research workers will be joining the team, hinting at Hyundai’s car development solely targeting the Southeast Asian market.
Last year, car sales in the ASEAN region -- including 10 member countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore -- reached 3.16 million units, about 3.8 percent of its total car sales globally.
Even though the sales figure is less than one-seventh of that in China, experts say the growth potential is large enough. According to industry data, car sales in ASEAN countries could exceed 4.8 million units by 2020, becoming the world’s sixth-largest market.
Japanese carmakers have a dominating market share in the region as they have poured resources into the market since 1970s. In Indonesia, eight Japanese carmakers account for more than 90 percent of car sales, while Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors own a tiny 2 percent.
Hyundai sold 88,920 vehicles in ASEAN last year, about 7.8 percent of its 1.14 million unit sales in China. Kia sold 29,194 vehicles during the same time.
“We are increasing investments in Vietnam, including an assembly plant for commercial vehicles with an annual production capacity of 30,000 units,” a Hyundai official was quoted as saying by Chosun Biz. “We will consolidate our strategy through the new task force.”
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)