FRANKFURT -- Hyundai is targeting sales gains in Europe next year, but will not seek to maintain its market share at all costs, said the brand's chief operating officer for the region, Allan Rushforth.
European sales growth will be limited as Hyundai's strategy emphasizes gaining repeat business, Rushforth said.
"We used to be a conquest brand," with most customers being first-time buyers, he said. "We will shift focus to retain business," especially by expanding vehicle financing that encourages customers to return.
Hyundai hopes to increase sales in line with a forecast 3 percent recovery in growth in the European market next year, Rushforth said.
"[This year] was a year of transition for our brand," with investments in production and other operations now "starting to deliver positive results," he said. "Our primary aim is to continue enhancing the quality of our operations, even if it means we are not able to sustain our market share."
Rushforth said the European car market will remain a "competitive environment in the months to come."
Hyundai's cautious approach to European expansion comes only days after U.S. rival General Motors said it will drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015.
"For Hyundai to be a top global brand we have to be a top European brand. We have become a European carmaker. In the future we are even more committed to Europe," Hyundai Europe President Byung Kwon Rim said.