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RYAN BEENE

Are we in Hyundai’s decade?

Ryan Beene is a reporter for Automotive News.

FRANKFURT -- Big assertions of strength are a given for every automaker press conference at every major auto show.

But during Hyundai’s debut of the restyled i30 compact wagon, one such pronouncement earlier today by Eui Sun Chung, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Co., stood out.

“We think we are just at the beginning of the Hyundai decade,” Chung said.

The Hyundai decade? Really?

Normally, something like this isn’t even worth remembering. But consider where Hyundai is today compared to where it was in 2007.

That year, global Hyundai sales totaled 1.7 million vehicles. For 2011, Chung said Hyundai sales will surpass 4 million vehicles worldwide. That’s about 2.3 million units of growth in just four years, or roughly 135 percent.

Can Hyundai keep it up? Only time will tell. Given that all this growth took place during a massive global recession, it would be difficult to bet against Chung.

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