Hyundai Motor Group has announced a global sales target of 7.6 million vehicles for 2019, up by less than 1% from an estimated 7.5 million units in 2018, helped by a sales recovery in the US and China.

In his New Year speech to employees, group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun warned that slowing global economic growth and rising protectionism between major trading partners will be the key challenges in 2019.

In a separate report Hyundai Motor said it is targeting 4.68 million global sales this year, while Kia Motors aims to sell 2.92 million units.

Separately, Hyundai Motor’s Global Business Intelligence Centre think-tank announced at a press gathering at the carmaker’s headquarters in Seoul that it forecasts overall global vehicle sales to fall by 0.1% to 92.49 million units in 2019 from an estimated 92.44 million units in 2018. This includes a 1.4% drop in the US market to 17 million units and a 0.2% drop in European sales to 17.8 million units.

Both Hyundai and Kia plan to launch a combined 13 new models in the US, China and other emerging markets this year, including the launch this year of Hyundai’s Genesis luxury car brand in China, followed by Europe. The company says it is also strengthening its SUV line-up, which should help it outperform in a number of markets including the USA.

Longer term, Hyundai Motor Group is looking to launch 44 hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle models by 2025, with combined sales expected to reach 1.67 million units that year. Along with its main suppliers, it plans to invest a combined KRW7.6trn (US$6.7bn) by 2030 in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle production facilities and related R&D activity.