Hyundai Motor said it expected its vehicle sales in India to exceed 500,000 units for a third consecutive year in 2018 thanks to a strong and diversified model line.

The automaker sold 500,500 vehicles in India in 2016 and 527,300 in 2017 making the country one of its main global markets, accounting for around 12% of sales.

Sales in the first half of 2018 rose by a further 8% to 275,500 units, driven by strong demand for the Grand i10, Grand i20 models and Creta small SUV.

Overall, the Indian vehicle market has also enjoyed strong growth over the last two years with total domestic vehicle sales passing 4m units last year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

This makes it the world's fourth largest vehicle market after China, the US and Japan.

India is also a major export base for Hyundai with overseas shipments accounting for around 25% of its vehicle production.

Hyundai said it would spendUS$1bn to bring on stream nine new models in India by 2020, including an electric vehicle next year, while sister company Kia Motors is spending US$1.1bn on a new 300,000-unit factory in the state of Andhra Pradesh.