Automakers in the U.S., Europe, and Japan are getting increasingly worried about the Korean Twins, Hyundai and Kia. Both had already outpaced the U.S. and European market last year. Today, Kia announced aggressive plans for both regions.
This year, Kia wants to lift sales in Europe by 22.8 percent to 356,000 vehicles. U.S. sales of Kias are budgeted to rise 10 percent to 534,000 vehicles this year, Kia told reporters at the quarterly results meeting in Seoul today.
Speaking of results, Reuters reports that the last quarter was a bit of a disappointment. Profits in the October-December quarter dropped 3.5 percent to 790.4 billion won ($704.52 million) from a year earlier. Analysts had expected 1.1 trillion won.
2011 Sales Hyundai, Kia
At first glance, the aggressive posture of the Koreans in Europe appears baffling. The European car market as a whole has been deteriorating. Last year, it was down 1.7 percent. This year, it is expected to be down 3 to 5 percent. Looking at Europe`s demographics, the trend points downwards. In the U.S. moderate growth is predicted.
Kia and Hyundai seem to be intent on exploiting the new frugality. They want to capture more market share in Europe, while European makers try to hold ground at home and focus on Asian growth markets instead. Internally (and sometimes in public,) they benchmark Hyundai.
One market seems to be unaffected by the Korean onslaught: Japan. After a lackluster attempt on penetrating the Japanese market, Hyundai took its ball in 2009, and went home.