Hyundai gathers in red-hot market
Korea’s leading automaker has been holding biannual meetings abroad since 2001, but this is the first time the event has been held in the Middle East. The company said the decision to convene in the United Arab Emirates signals the importance of the fast-growing regional market.
The company said on Tuesday it will hold the four-day meeting through Thursday, local time, with 300 executives - including the Vice President Chung-Eui-sun - and dealers from 120 nations participating.
“The company will present its management strategies that aim to sell a total of 4.36 million cars in the world to global dealers,” Hyndai said in a statement. “We decided to hold this meeting in Dubai because we want to strengthen our competitiveness in the Middle East market that is growing fast, and it is an important region for us to improve our overall worldwide performance.”
This biannual meeting is to strengthen Hyundai’s bond with global partners and the company selected a region that is strategically significant.
Last year, Hyundai Motor sold a total of 327,951 units in 12 Middle Eastern countries, the best year since the company entered the market in 1976. Sales leaders were the Avante (92,361) and Accent (78,678) small sedans. Hyundai sold 35,532 Santa Fe SUVs in the region, a year-on-year increase of 28.7 percent.
The Middle East accounted for 7.7 percent of the automaker’s foreign sales of 4.27 million units in 2014. Combining Kia Motors’ sales of 194,529 units, Hyundai Motor Group had sold 522,480 vehicles in 2013 for a 23.3 percent share of the Middle East market, second among global automakers.
In the meeting, the vice president and the son of the Korean automotive group’s Chairman Chung Mong-koo presented a road map to meet this year’s global sales goal of 4.36 million cars.
“The company is aware that many of you have gone through a tough time lately due to the slumping economy,” said Chung. “I give you my word that we will give you our best support to accomplish this year’s sales goal, and we will continue operating our long-term sales strategies.”
Along with the company’s vision for sale, Chung also presented a series of management plans, including ones to improve fuel efficiency by 25 percent by 2020 and expand investment in environmentally friendly cars.
The company also announced a plan to improve facilities at 6,000 dealer shops and showrooms by 2018.
The Middle East also is a focus of Hyundai Motor Group. The group is trying to expand its construction business, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction currently involved in about 30 projects worth 22 trillion won ($20.3 billion) in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and elsewhere.
If the nuclear negotiations between Iran and United States are finalized, it is expected to provide more business opportunities.
“If the Iran market is reopened, it would definitely be a boost for Hyundai Motor as it sold an average of 20,000 cars there annually until 2011,” said Hwang Kwan-sik, Hyundai Motor spokesman.
Hyundai Steel has been supplying high-value added steel to the UAE since 2011 when it won a contract to supply 290,000 tons of steel.
It also has planned to expand its business by improving the quality of steel used for oil pipelines, refining facilities and power plants.
BY KWON SANG-SOO [email@example.com]