Hyundai bullish on US market prospects

by 25 Sep 2006

Hyundai Motor has room to grow its share of the US auto market with independent research showing almost a quarter of new car buyers considering the South Korean brand, Reuters reported a company executive as saying. Hyundai US sales have risen five percent so far in 2006, putting the company behind only Toyota Motor and Honda Motor Company in sales gains. Hyundai ended 2005 with a three percent share of the US market.

John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America vice president for product development and strategic planning, said that the number of US car shoppers who indicated that they would consider Hyundai had more than doubled to 23 percent currently from 11 percent in 2003. He told Reuters that among Americans between 16 and 24 years old, a coveted market segment, Hyundai had a higher rate of consideration than its far larger rival Toyota. The company based its findings on consumer attitudes on data from two outside research firms: Allison-Fisher and CNW Marketing Research.

Hyundai posted 26 percent annual growth between 1998 and 2005, making the automaker the fastest to go from sales of 100,000 units per year to 400,000. The company has been taking share in a flat US market and its gains have been closely watched by both the Big Three US manufacturers and Japanese automakers.

Hyundai is planning to launch a rear-wheel drive high-performance car – either a sporty coupe or a premium sedan – and would like to enter the increasingly crowded market for pickup trucks, Krafcik told Reuters.

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