SEOUL -- Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group plans to increase global vehicle sales by 16 percent to 4.1 million units in 2006, the company said.
The Korean group includes Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp.
To support its efforts, the company will invest about $8.5 billion in 2006 across the group, which has more than 20 affiliates, including parts maker Hyundai Mobis and steel arm Hyundai Hysco.
The company, which aims to be a top 5 global automaker by 2010, is expanding worldwide. Ranked by sales, Hyundai-Kia was No. 7 in 2004.
Hyundai's Alabama plant, which started production last year, will reach its full capacity of 300,000 units this year.
The company expects to build a European plant this year, though a site has not been chosen. Kia hopes to pick a site for a U.S. plant in 2006.
Hyundai had a strong performance in 2005 with worldwide sales up 11 percent over 2004. Its best-selling model was the Elantra car.
"Hyundai is increasing its brand equity in the United States," Kim Hak Ju, an autos analyst at Samsung Securities in Seoul, said. "Kia is replacing old models with new models, and its horrible platform is being replaced with a new platform jointly developed with Hyundai Motors."