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As Hyundai Motor Co., faces its first annual turn down in the U.S. market share since 1998, the South Korean automaker has decided to move on with new ideas. According to Hyundai’s sales chief, the automaker plans to address production constraints and invest in trucks and crossovers. John Krafcik —CEO of Hyundai said that the brand has passed Ford in car sales to retail buyers during the first half of 2012. The company just started making the new 2013 Santa Fe sport-utility vehicle.
“If you look forward a few years, and you say, ‘Gosh, if Hyundai can figure out their capacity constraints, and if Hyundai could invest on the truck and crossover side as they have on the car side of the business,” Krafcik said. “Then the brand could have a pretty good future going forward,” he added.
In the first six months of 2012, Hyundai accounted for 4.9 percent of U.S. car and light-truck sales, which is down from 5.1 percent compared to last year. In the words of Krafcik, the U.S. sales of Hyundai may slow down this year due to tight production capacity and Chairman Chung Mong Koo’s push to improve quality of the vehicles. Hyundai’s U.S. market share fell as its first-half sales increase of 10 percent trailed the industry’s 15 percent gain. The sales growth in U.S. trailed gains at Chrysler Group LLC and Volkswagen AG. Besides, the sales of Toyota Motor Corp increased 29 percent alongside Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co.
To improve the production capacity, Hyundai plans to add third shift to its Montgomery, Ala., plant in September, with an intention of producing 20,000 units this year. At present, the plant builds at least 300,000 Hyundai Sonata sedans and Hyundai Elantra small cars a year.
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