Hyundai will boost output 20 percent to 300,000 units this year at its plant in Nosovice, Czech Republic, to meet strong demand for its new i30 model line. The South Korean automaker started production of the i30 compact wagon today.
When combined with a production doubling to 200,000 units at its plant in Izmit, Turkey, Hyundai will have capacity to make a half million cars in Europe by the end of 2013.
Hyundai's big gains in production and new-car sales come as mass-market rivals such as Fiat and Ford have been forced to halt output at their Europe plants for days at a time to adjust to weak demand in Europe, which is headed toward its fifth-consecutive year of declining overall sales.
The i30 wagon, which was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva auto show, will account for about 30 percent of the 115,000 i30 variants Hyundai plans to make this year for Europe. The car's five-door hatchback variant will account for the other 70 percent of the model line's production.
Hyundai says it has received more than 57,000 orders of the new i30 hatch since the car went on sale in March. With a volume of 101,328 units, the previous-generation i30 was Hyundai's best-selling model in Europe last year ahead of the ix20 and ix35, according to data from market researches JATO Dynamics.
About 70 percent of the cars Hyundai sells in Europe are produced at its plants in Turkey and the Czech Republic.
The automaker also builds the ix20 small minivan and ix35 compact SUV in Nosovice.
By the end of next year, Hyundai will move production of the next i10 for Europe to Turkey from India. The minicar will be built at Hyundai's joint venture plant with Kibar Holding alongside the i20 subcompact.
Hyundai plans to achieve a 3.5 market percent share in the EU and EFTA countries this year, up from 2.9 percent in 2011. Through May, it's share in the EU and EFTA was 3.3 percent because of a 10 percent increase in sales to 187,667 vehicles, according to data from industry association ACEA.