Hyundai Europe to keep share in shrinking market

South Korean car maker Hyundai <005380.KS> said it expects to keep the 3.5 percent share the brand enjoyed in 2012, in face of a market set to shrink by 3-5 percent.

"2013 will be a year of consolidation before we aim to grow further in 2014," Allan Rushforth, Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, told Reuters.

Hyundai has increased its share of the European market steadily from just 1.8 percent five years ago, making it one of the hottest selling individual brands along with its Korean sister marque Kia <002380.KS> and Germany's Volkswagen .

"We have the costs under control," the Hyundai Europe manager said.

Most of Hyundai Europe's production base is located in the low-cost centres of the Czech Republic and Turkey, rather than Korea.

Rushforth was helped by the launch of 15 new models in recent years, such as the i30 compact car that was designed, engineered and built in Europe for the European market.

He said this year will be a quiet one in terms of new products, with the revamped Santa Fe SUV and, towards the end of the year, a new derivative of the i10 small city car planned.

Hyundai and Kia combined expect to sell about 4 percent more cars or 7.4 million vehicles this year compared with 7.1 million in 2012, which represented a growth of 8 percent versus the previous year.

(Reporting By Jan Schwartz, writing by Christiaan Hetzner, editing by Louise Heavens)