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Hyundai Motor Group cuts sales target to 8.13 mln this year
Hyundai Motor Group's chairman said Monday that its two carmakers aim to produce and sell 8.13 million cars this year, lowering its annual target from a year earlier due to tough market conditions at home and abroad.

This is a downgrade from the previous year when the group, which owns Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., pushed to sell 8.2 million units.

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo told his employees during an event marking the start of 2016 that the auto giant sold about 8.01 million cars last year, almost the same as it did in 2014.

"The auto industry is facing a structural change due to intensifying competition among existing brands and vehicles getting more electronic," Chung said, emphasizing the importance of securing future competitiveness to get over heightened market uncertainty.

Chung said that Hyundai Motor Group sold more than 8 million cars for the second straight year in 2015 despite "challenging"

market situations, but the slowing growth in China, low crude oil prices and instability prompted by the recent U.S. rate hike bode ill for the world's fifth-largest automaker. 

To tide over such tough market situations, Chung said that the group should focus more on research and development while leading technological innovation in the industry and enhancing its brand image "significantly" based on top-class quality and product competitiveness. 

In separate regulatory filings, Hyundai Motor said it aims to sell 5.01 million vehicles in 2016, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors plans to sell 3.12 million cars this year. 

Hyundai Motor Group hoped that the new plants in Mexico and China, which will be up and running this year, will expand overall production capacity and also help consolidate its status in major global markets