Hyundai expects to end 2009 with European sales up 17% year on year at 336,000 units. Last year, Hyundai sold 286,000 cars across the continent, 10% less than in 2007.

As part of plans to meet the target, the automaker said it would try to increase fleet sales and upgrade its 2,300 dealerships across Europe by 2012, the Korea Herald reported on Thursday.

The company said it would also step up advertising campaigns in countries with scrapping incentives to cash in on the policy as much as possible.

The i-series vehicles – i10, i20 and i30 – that have already played a major role in boosting the carmaker’s sales in the region this year will continue to spearhead Hyundai’s sales drive.

During the first eight months of the year, about 70,000 units of the mostly Indian-made i10 small car were sold in Europe while i30 sales came in at 58,992 units – it is now made in Hyundai’s new plant in the Czech Republic.

Compared to the same period last year, i10 sales doubled while i30 sales rose 27%. About 35,300 units of the subcompact i20 were sold in Europe during the period, the company said. The i-series vehicles now account for 82.9% of Hyundai’s European sales, up from 67.2% in 2008.

January to August sales were up 19.8% over last year despite the 8.1% Europe-wide slump in the same period.

The Korea Herald noted that Hyundai is among the very few carmakers to increase European sales this year and that the rise recorded during the January-to-August period was the second highest after Renault‘s Dacia brand, whose sales jumped 30%.