Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors, South Korea's largest carmakers, plan to increase global sales by 4.1 per cent this year, as international and domestic markets struggle with a slowing economy.
The carmakers were targeting combined sales of 7.41 million vehicles, Chung Mong-koo, the chairman of the companies, told employees yesterday.
Hyundai and Kia sold an estimated 7.12 million units last year, compared with a target of seven million, Chung said.
Hyundai is winning customers in its biggest market of China, where a feud with Japan over disputed islands is leading to a consumer boycott of rivals including Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor.
The Korean carmakers are boosting sales in Europe, their fourth-largest market, and bucking the region's slumping economy with demand for models including the i10 minicar and Kia's Cee'd hatchback.
Shares of both companies lagged behind the benchmark index last year. Hyundai rose 2.6 per cent last year while Kia fell 15 per cent, compared with a 9.4 per cent gain in the Kospi index.
Hyundai, which owns 34 per cent of Kia, planned to sell 4.66 million units this year and Kia aimed to sell 2.75 million vehicles, the companies said in regulatory filings.
With the completion of a plant in Brazil last year, Hyundai and Kia now operated 30 plants in nine countries, Chung said.
This year, the companies would continue investing in developing environmentally friendly vehicles and electronic control systems, he said.
Hyundai's fourth-quarter net income may have risen 12 per cent to 2.23 trillion won (HK$16.22 billion) in the fourth quarter, according to the average of 25 analyst estimates. Annual profit was probably 9.02 trillion won last year, according to 35 estimates.
Kia's earnings for the quarter probably jumped 34 per cent to 1.06 trillion won, according to the average of 24 analyst estimates.
Both carmakers are due to release their earnings this month.