Frankfurt: Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea’s top automaker, does not expect a significant recovery of European auto markets in the near term.
“It won’t be until 2015 when the market picks up significantly and we’ll see 2007 levels in Europe again”, Allan Rushforth, vice-president of Hyundai Motor Europe told Reuters on Monday on the sidelines of the Frankfurt Motor Show.
He said Asian markets are expected to recover more quickly.
Hyundai will however be able to increase its market share as car tax rules have made customers increasingly concerned about topics like climate change, Rushforth said.
“Our market share will rise to 2.5% in Europe this year after reaching 1.8% in 2008,” he said. It was 2.4% in the first eight months.
To meet the growing European demand Hyundai is considering expanding its manufacturing sites in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where each currently has an annual production capacity of 200,000 units.
Hyundai aims to sell half a million cars in Europe by 2013.
“We have the possibility to add 100,000 to our Czech plant,” Rushforth said. The European production had partly shielded Hyundai from the effects of the appreciation of the won.
Electronic cars—Hyundai will start selling its full electric “i 10” to fleets in the second half of 2010—will play a major role in the company’s expansion strategy, Rushforth said. “We expect 5% of global sales to be electric cars in 2020.”