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Hyundai predicts 2008 sales gain on expanded production, marketing

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Hyundai Motor is forecasting a double-digit increase in sales for 2008 on expanded overseas production and stronger marketing.

The South Korean automaker says global sales this year will total 3.11 million vehicles, an increase of 19.6 per cent from 2007.

The company says that will generate US$49 billion in revenue in 2008.

That's an increase of 12.2 per cent from the year before.

But analysts say Hyundai's 2008 sales forecast appears too optimistic given economic uncertainties related to the impact of the subprime mortgage problem in the United States.

Hyundai, along with affiliate Kia Motors, is the world's sixth-largest automaker and has ambitions to crack the top five by 2010.

The companies are expanding aggressively overseas.

Hyundai already has plants in China, India, Turkey and the U-S and is building another in the Czech Republic.

Company official Jake Jang says a second factory in India, which started production last year, is expected to hit full capacity early this year.

He says Hyundai's second Chinese plant will start up in May.

Hyundai, which has been seeking to raise its profile, is an official sponsor of the Super Bowl football game this year for the first time.

As part of an image makeover, the company plans to introduce the Genesis, a new luxury car meant to compete with the likes of Toyota's Lexus.

Hyundai says the vehicle is set to go on sale in South Korea this month, with launches in China and the U-S during the first half of the year.

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Hyundai predicts 2008 sales gain on expanded production, marketing
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