Hyundai rethinks its market focus

Developing countries and the small-car market are to be Hyundai`s focus next year as western demand plunges amid the global recession.

China, India, the Middle East, Africa and South America will be the targets to balance falling sales in North America and Europe, said Mong Hyun Yoon, director for business strategy.

The small-car market also offers better growth potential, he said, as the credit crunch leads people to buy cheaper, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The company, which with affiliate Kia is the world's fifth-largest automotive group, blames falling sales, labour unrest and increased production and warranty provisions for the 37.8% drop in third-quarter net profits.

Its annual sales target for this year has been lowered to 3.02 million vehicles from the previous 3.11 million. Yoon did not specify a target for next year.

The company is planning to launch a small hybrid car for the South Korean market, and a gas-electric hybrid version of its Sonata in 2010.

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