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Hyundai Motor Company Aims to Boost Car Sales 17% in 2010

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SEOUL, Jan 4, 2010; Cheon Jong-woo writing for Reuters reported that Hyundai Motor Group, South Korea's top automaker, said on Monday it aimed to raise global sales volume by 17 percent in 2010 on an worldwide economic recovery and new models.

The group, which includes Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp and is the world's No.4 car maker based on first-half 2009 sales, is targeting combined sales of 5.4 million vehicles in 2010, compared with 4.63 million last year.

Last year, Hyundai Motor's sales volume rose 10 percent to 3.10 million vehicles, while Kia's grew 9.3 percent to 1.53 million, thanks to a weaker won, government stimulus packages and growing consumer appetite for smaller models.

On Thursday, a Kia spokesman said it aimed to increase global sales volume by more than 26 percent this year.

The targets came amid worries that Hyundai and Kia sales may face pressure from a stronger won and expiring government measures to spur car demand.

The won is expected to rise over 10 percent against the dollar in 2010, a Reuters poll in late December showed.

The maker of the Elantra compact car, however, is likely to be helped by an economic recovery and new models, analysts said, as well as a bright uutlook in emerging markets such as China and India.

"New model effects are seen much stronger this year than last year. They will bring more customers with higher incomes to showrooms amid the economic recovery," said Ahn Sang-jun, an auto analyst at Tong Yang Securities.

Reflecting the optimism, shares in Hyundai rose 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter of the last year, outperforming a 0.6 percent gain in the wider market .

Hyundai plans to launch revamped Elantra and Accent models later this year.

Last November, a senior executive said Hyundai and Kia aimed to grow at twice the market rate this year in China and a third plant was planned in the world's top car market.

Editing for Reuters by Jonathan Hopfner