South Korean carmakers grew global car sales by around 9% last year to over five million units, with more than half of last year's growth down to exports.

Hyundai Motor posted record exports of 1.97m cars in addition to domestic sales of 625,000. Kia Motors' exports also exceeded 1m units last year.

According to company officials Monday, the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group plans to redouble its efforts to increase exports in 2008 with new models.

According to the Korea Times, these include Hyundai Motor's ``Genesis'' luxury sedan and Kia Motors' ``Mohave'' sport utility vehicle (SUV), both set to hit American showrooms in the latter half of this year.

Shin Jong-woon, Hyundai Motor executive vice president for quality, said at the Global Automotive Conference in Seoul last month that his company would exert all-out efforts to form a new brand image based on differentiated quality management.

Hyundai Motor Vice Chairman Suh Byung-ki also told reporters that the quality of Hyundai cars had so far been underestimated. ``But we will fight that prejudice with the Genesis.''

Kia Motors large-sized SUV the ``Mohave,'' will be introduced to the US under the name ``Borrego'' later this year.

``We aim to sell 48,000 Mohaves this year including 30,000 abroad,'' a company spokesman told the newspaper.

``We plan to raise the sales to 80,000 in 2009, including 20,000 at home and 60,000 abroad.''

There will also be a facelift of the mid-sized Sonata this year.