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The Hyundai-Kia empire has set a 2012 sales target of seven million global units. This is an increase of 6.1 per cent from last year. The company aim to achieve this by investing more heavily in research and development and increasing the quality of its products.

Chairman of both companies Chung Mong Koo announced the plans yesterday during a speech to employees. The target is up from last year’s goal of 6.3 million international vehicle sales, a goal that was exceeded by 300,000. Hyundai is believed to have sold 4.05 million while Kia contributed around 2.55 million.

One of the key reasons for Hyundai and Kia exceeded their targets in 2011 was the popular Japanese manufacturers falling short. Both Toyota and Honda suffered from the earthquake devastation last March, while Honda production also suffered significantly due to the recent Thailand floods.

Hyundai-Kia plans to invest $4.3 billion in further research and development for its vehicles, 11 per cent higher than last year’s budget. The result should be increased quality across the range of vehicles from both brands.

On top of this, Kia is also reportedly planning to establish a new China-only brand, which will assist the company reach its future sales targets.