[ads id=”0″ style=”float:left;padding:5px;”]“The demand for vehicles in Europe will increase this year and consequently the competition will be fiercer than ever,” he told regional executives during a visit to a Kia Motors’ plant in Slovakia. “Do not simply try to maintain the status quo. Be prepared for new challenges.”
This was Chung’s first business trip to Europe this year after one in October. Overall, automotive sales in Europe have been affected by the global financial crisis over the past six years, but there has been a sign of recovery in sales, and Chung stressed that it will be a good chance for Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors to aggressively expand their presence.
“In the past six years, we made efforts to expand sales in Europe, but now, based on what we’ve achieved here, we need to improve our competitiveness and strengthen our position,” Chung said.
He also stressed the importance of production flexibility to cope with changing demands in the market. He visited the Kia plant in Slovakia, Tuesday, and Hyundai Motor’s Czech and German factories the following day.
[ads id=”0″ style=”float:left;padding:5px;”]Hyundai and Kia’s local facilities produced a respective 303,000 and 313,000 vehicles last year, recording full operations in production capacity. After his inspection of production facilities, he visited the group’s regional headquarters in Frankfurt to be briefed on the companies’ European sales strategy.
“It is necessary to improve the competitiveness of our popular models, while also setting up new marketing strategies for newer models. Through the successful launch of the new Genesis, we should improve our brand awareness in the region,” he said.
The importance of Europe is growing for Hyundai Motor Group, especially as the market has started to show signs of recovery. Even when it was in a slump and total sales of vehicles dropped, the group saw double-digit growth. Its sales jumped to 760,000 in 2013 from 560,000 in 2007, raising its market share to 6.2 percent over the same period.
Total car sales in Europe dropped to 13.74 million in 2013, the lowest in the past six years, but market experts forecast they will increase by 2.9 percent to 14.14 million this year.
“European brands such as Volkswagen plan to launch about 20 to 30 new-volume models this year, and begin to offer aggressive sales incentives, such as installment-sales programs with low interest. On the back of the weak yen, Japanese brands will also offer various incentives and strengthen their hybrid lineups to expand their presence,” an official from Hyundai said.
To cope with the fast changing and challenging situation, Hyundai will launch new models such as the i20 and the Soul in Europe, following the new i10 last year. It will also expand sales networks in major cities and launch various installment-sales programs.