Hyundai Motor should double its sales to $US2.2 billion from a car-making venture in China this year, despite a downturn in the world's fourth-largest vehicle market.

Xu Heyi, chairman of Beijing Hyundai Automotive Corp., a 50-50 venture set up in 2002, told Reuters the company should earn revenue of 18 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) in 2004 and remains on track to move 150,000 vehicles.

It will also next year start making Mercedes sedans in China with DaimlerChrysler AG, the report noted.

Reuters said Hyundai, currently fourth in the market, has said previously it wanted to sell 200,000 vehicles in China in 2005 but Xu declined to elaborate on that target.

Hyundai and its partner sold 110,862 vehicles in China in the first 10 months of this year and the car maker has said it hoped to sell 60,000 Sonata sedans and 90,000 Avantes in China in 2004, the report said.

"We haven't any unsold inventory. In fact, sales are so strong that our dealers are clamouring for product and paying for it up-front," Xu told Reuters. "We'll certainly hit our sales target for the year."

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