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Hyundai: Move Over Fahrvergnugen

Ward's AutoWorld, Mar 1, 2002 12:00 PM

There's one big psychological barrier standing between Hyundai Motor America and its goal of becoming a U.S. import heavy hitter: Volks-wagen of America Inc.

Though the Korean auto maker has not explicitly set its sites on passing import-darling VW during this calendar year, executives are fairly confident it can be done. They readily admit outpacing VWA — which sold 355,648 cars in the U.S. for 2001 — would give their operation a major morale boost.

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Hyundai sales in 2001 surpassed those of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. in the U.S. The auto maker has targeted sales of 370,000 units for 2002 — up 7% from 2001's record 346,235 — modest growth for a car maker that racked up double-digit gains for the last three years, culminating in 2001's 42% year-on-year growth.

As for passing VWA, a Hyundai official says it is not an expressed goal, but points out that Hyundai, at the end of November 2001, pulled within 4,500 units of doing so. VWA answered with a strong December, leaving a 9,400-unit disparity between the two for the year.



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