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Hyundai Motor Group, the owner of both the Hyundai and Kia brands and the fifth largest automaker in the world, announced that it will invest US$12.2 billion this year in research and development (R&D) as well as on improving its facilities.

The South Korean group announced last October that their target for 2012 was 7 million units, up from 6.5 million in 2011. Despite the economic crisis, both brands have performed excellently. They also estimate that their growth could have been even larger had it not been limited by their plants’ output, many of which are operating at or near their maximum capacity.

As reported by Autonews, the company stated that almost US$4.4 billion are earmarked for its R&D department in order “to accelerate the development of eco-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles”.

Another US$2.6 billion will be invested in upgrading existing plants and constructing new factories in South Korea and overseas. The remaining funds will be invested in the rest of its global facilities and its local steel production operation.

Hyundai and Kia are increasing their 2012 investment by 15.6 percent compared to 2011 in order to meet increased demand. Both carmakers have achieved record sales in the U.S. market, with dealers having just a 30-day supply of vehicles on December 1, which is the second lowest supply in the industry and less than half the industry average (61 days).
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