By Keith Naughton
Hyundai Motor Co. is “on track” to see sales rise 4.4 percent to 734,000 vehicles in the U.S. this year, even as factory capacity constraints have limited the automaker’s sales growth to just 1.2 percent in the first half, the carmaker’s U.S. chief said.
“Our year is going well if you measure it by, ‘Are you selling everything you can build?’ ” John Krafcik, chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor America, said at a briefing on the automaker’s 2014 Equus sedan. “It’s a sign that we don’t have enough capacity. We frequently can’t meet the demand for a specific model.”
Hyundai is forecasting its slowest U.S. sales growth in five years after a 13-year streak in which it combined with affiliate Kia Motors Corp. to gain U.S. market share. The Seoul, South Korea-based companies have trailed industrywide sales growth in every month since September, constrained by plant capacity and battling more competitive U.S.-based automakers.
Hyundai and Kia together sold 638,361 cars and utility vehicles this year through June, a 1.1 percent decline, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Industrywide deliveries rose 7.7 percent.
Hyundai’s U.S. sales will accelerate in the second half because it will boost production slightly, Krafcik said Monday.
“Just the way the car flow goes, we’ll get a little bit more in the second half,” Krafcik said.