December 10, 2013 / 2:38 PM / 5 years ago

Hyundai says will not defend Europe market share at all costs

Workers assemble a new Hyundai i10 car at the Hyundai Assan car plant in Izmit, western Turkey, September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Korean auto maker Hyundai (005380.KS) will seek to expand in Europe, but will not seek to maintain its market share at all costs, Allan Rushforth, Chief Operating Officer at Hyundai Motor Europe said on Tuesday.

The Korean auto maker, which has development and production facilities in Germany, the Czech Republic and Turkey, currently has a market share of 3.5 percent in Europe.

“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 at a press conference on the outskirts of Frankfurt.

Hyundai’s cautious approach to European expansion comes only days after U.S. rival General Motors (GM.N) said it will drop the Chevrolet brand in Europe by the end of 2015.

Hyundai hopes to grow in line with a forecast 3 percent recovery in growth next year, Rushforth said, adding that it would launch 22 new products in the next four years, many of which are aimed at the compact segment.

“For Hyundai to be a top global brand we have to be a top European brand. We have become a European car maker. In the future we are even more committed to Europe,” said Byung Kwon Rim, President Hyundai Motor Europe.

From 2017 onwards, 90 percent of its cars for sale in Europe will be built in the region and around 70 percent of Hyundai’s components will be sourced there.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Louise Heavens

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