South Korea automaker Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors on Monday forecast that combined worldwide vehicle sales will increase 11.5% in 2021 after declining for two consecutive years.
Their target of 7.08 million vehicles comes after the coronavirus crisis sent sales last year declining 12% to a decade low of 6.35 million vehicles. That result is also over 20% off a peak reached in 2015.
While the automakers have missed their sales predictions for the last six years, experts described this year’s target as realistic. Shares in Hyundai Motor also finished 8% higher on Monday, as investors hope for strong electric vehicle sales this year.
Hyundai’s Kona Electric has been a bright spot for the automaker, with analysts saying sales have been solid despite a worldwide recall after a range of fire incidents.
Kevin Yoo, an analyst at eBEST Investment & Securities, added, however, that while major auto markets such as the United States and Europe have started to put the worst of the pandemic behind them, rivalry in electric cars is only set to increase.
“Other major automakers are expected to unveil a wave of new EVs in an effort to meet governments’ environment regulations, as well as to catch up with Tesla,” he said.
After the close on Monday, Hyundai said a worker had died because of an accident at a South Korean factory. The plant has just been refitted to build a new electric vehicle, the Ioniq 5 – which is set to be the automaker’s first model using a new EV-only platform.
It was unclear that when production will resume.