According to a report in The Korea Herald, Hyundai Motor and affiliated KIA Motors are advancing their goal of a combined five-million-units-a-year output target by two years to 2008 in a bid to accelerate their ascent to the global top five.

The report also says that Hyundai Motor Group is planning to launch a separate premium-car brand, along the lines of Toyota‘s Lexus.

Kim Dong-jin, president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor reportedly said: “In order for Hyundai and Kia to rise to the status of a top-five global automaker, the creation of an independent premium brand is indispensable.” Kim was making his remarks in a press conference on the eve of the opening of the 2002 Seoul Motor Show.

According to The Korea Herald, he added: “The successor model for Hyundai’s top-of-the-line Equus sedan, scheduled to hit the market in 2006, may carry a new premium brand, though details have yet to be determined.”

The report also said that in 2003, Hyundai and Kia are expected to produce 3.1 million to 3.5 million cars. New plants in the US, India and China should help to expand output towards five million units by 2008.

Asked about platform sharing between Hyundai and Kia, Kim said that the number of group platforms would be reduced to seven by 2006, according to the Herald.