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Hyundai and Kia, which together rank fifth in global auto sales, have been stellar performers even during the global economic downturn, gaining market share from Japanese and U.S. rivals, as their affordable, quality models have appealed to cost-conscious consumers.
But the South Korean firms see rapid volume growth softening because of limited manufacturing capacity that keeps them from boosting output sharply to meet demand.
"We aim to sell about 7 million vehicles next year. We expect to reach (the target) should we run our factories at full capacity," Chung Jin-haeng told Reuters, adding that the sales target has not been finalized.
He did not give a breakdown on the sales goals for Hyundai and Kia.
He also said Hyundai and Kia expected to beat their already upgraded 2011 sales targets of 6.5 million vehicles, anticipating sales of between 6.5 million and 6.6 million this year.
Suh Sung-moon, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities, said the 2012 target appeared to be conservative, saying Hyundai and Kia would continue to surpass their earlier targets next year.
"I expect Hyundai and Kia will be able to achieve sales of 7.2 million vehicles next year, with Hyundai's China plant starting production and Kia introducing a third shift at its Slovakia plant," he said.
Hyundai and Kia said in January that they aimed to boost combined vehicle sales by 10 percent to 6.33 million this year.
The South Korean duo said recently that they expected to beat the 2011 target, eyeing sales of 6.5 million this year.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Chris Lewis and Jacqueline Wong. Editing by Jane Merriman)