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(LEAD) Hyundai, Kia set conservative 2018 sales target after THAAD row

All News 18:36 January 02, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS finalized sales figure for 2017 in 2nd para from bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest carmaker by sales, said Tuesday they are targeting to sell a combined 7.55 million vehicles this year as slowing global economic growth weighs on demand in major markets.

Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. have set an annual sales target for this year, after missing their combined sales goal of 8.25 million cars last year, the group said in a statement.

"With low global economic growth and spreading protectionism in major trading partners, (Hyundai Motor Group) has to be quick in responding to rapidly changing business environments and taking the lead in future vehicle technologies," Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo said in New Year message to employees.

The group aims to have 38 kinds of environment-friendly vehicles in its lineup, including 14 pure electric cars, by 2025.

In this photo taken on Jan. 2, 2018, and provided by Hyundai Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Yoon Yeo-chul delivers a New Year speech to employees at the carmaker's headquarters in Yangjae, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)

In regards to the annual sales targets, Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Yoon Yeo-chul said in New Year speech to employees that the group expects weak global growth this year due to shrinking demand in the United States, China and Europe.

The sedan-heavy automaking group is belatedly beefing up its lineup with sport utility vehicles to meet the growing demand. It is now putting a bigger focus on reviving sales by launching new and upgraded SUVs this year mainly in major markets such as the U.S. and China.

In 2017, the two carmakers sold a total of 7.25 million units globally as their sales in China were hit hard by a diplomatic row with the world's biggest automobile market over the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.

Seoul and Beijing agreed in October to put their relations back on track, easing bilateral political tensions over the stationing of the missile defense system, called THAAD, which the latter argued could be used against it.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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