Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo has big plans for Europe. The 74-year-old billionaire son of Hyundai's founder, Chung Yu-Jung, wants Hyundai to increase its European sales 15 percent to 465,000 vehicles this year, and sister brand Kia is expected to boost its volume 21 percent to 350,000 this year. In March, Chung visited Europe for the first time to attend the Geneva auto show. At the event, Automotive News Europe Editor-in-Chief Luca Ciferri attended a press briefing with Chung where the chairman answered questions provided by Ciferri as well as other Italian journalists.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has said he keeps a close eye on Hyundai. Why should VW be concerned about Hyundai?
Hyundai has grown immensely over the last 10 years. Along with putting an emphasis on providing top quality, Hyundai's success factors have been bold investments in product, global r&d centers, production plants, sales networks and early expansion into the BRICs (Brazil, India, China and Russia) and other emerging markets.
What does VW have that you're still missing?
VW is a fine automaker with high technology and quality and a rich history. However, we will silently go about our business without focusing on one particular competitor.
Last year, Hyundai-Kia became the world's fifth-largest automaker by car sales. Do you need a partner to grow further?
We will go our 'Hyundai Way' alone. We are not interested in takeovers and mergers.
Do you want Hyundai to be the world's No. 1 automaker?
We will become the global leader, but this might not be in volume. Through quality growth, we will become the global leader by being the most loved car company.