Hyundai's U.S. sales on track for 734,000 vehicles this year -exec

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich., July 12 Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:53am EDT

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich., July 12 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co's U.S. sales will grow 4.4 percent this year to 734,000 vehicles, North American Chief Executive John Krafcik said on Friday.

In reaffirming a target set in February, Krafcik acknowledged the company's U.S. market share was down as the South Korean automaker holds down vehicle production capacity globally to ensure quality remains high.

While industry-wide U.S. auto sales rose 9 percent in June and the annual pace in the month raced to its strongest level since November 2007, Hyundai's sales rose only 1.9 percent.

Hyundai's U.S. sales this year are still on track to hit 734,000 cars and sport utility vehicles, and its market share is heading for 4.7 percent, Krafcik told reporters at the company's technical center outside Detroit. That would compare with sales in 2012 of 703,007 vehicles and a market share of 4.9 percent.

Hyundai was the fastest-growing automaker during the recent recession, but its sales increases have cooled due to the lack of availability of new cars. Its 2012 U.S. sales rose 8.9 percent.

Krafcik said the company's U.S. inventory of vehicles was the second-lowest in the industry among non-premium brands at 44 days. That has allowed the company to avoid generous incentives for consumers; the average incentive per vehicle at $1,237 is second-lowest among mainstream brands.

The executive said it does not make sense for Hyundai to put more money into incentives in the U.S. market at this point.

Hyundai previously added a third shift at its assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, potentially adding 60,000 vehicles of production over a full year.

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