SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- The combined global market share of South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller sister company Kia Motors Corp. hit 8.8 percent in the first six months of this year, a research firm said Monday.
The carmakers sold 3.683 million vehicles between January and June, up 0.2 percentage point from the same period a year earlier, according to LMC Automotive, a global research firm for the automotive industry.
The development came as brisk sales in Europe, Brazil and China made up for lackluster demand in the United States.
The combined global market share of Hyundai and Kia has been on the rise in recent years as they push to improve the quality of their cars as part of efforts to strengthen their competitiveness.
"We will maintain the policy of quality growth that will enhance our brand value" a Hyundai official said, adding that the two carmakers will seek to expand their global market share.
Their combined market share stood at 7.8 percent in 2009 before gaining to 8.1 percent in 2010. It also jumped to 8.6 percent in 2011 and hit a record high 8.8 percent for the full year of 2012.
Analysts said they expect the two carmakers' market share to increase to 9 percent if strong sales persist.
Shares of Hyundai and Kia were trading at 232,000 won and 62,000 won on the Seoul bourse as of 10:10 a.m., up 2.88 percent and 1.31 percent from the previous session's close, respectively.
Hyundai and Kia are the two major flagship units of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest carmaker.
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