Hyundai's ambition should be no secret to
anyone following the auto industry, but its latest goal is going to raise a few eyebrows. According to its CEO, Kim
Dong Jin, the automaker intends to pass DaimlerChrysler and Volkswagen AG as soon as 2009, which would put them in
fifth place worldwide. They also plan to increase capacity from 4 million annual units to 5.5 million, which is a
pretty serious number. One of the automaker's biggest obstacles comes from the increased strength of the won (S.
Korea's currency), which makes its products more expensive in export markets (60% of the vehicles from their Ulsan
plant go directly to boat docks for overseas sales). Localized assembly plants such as the new facility in Alabama go a
long ways towards minimizing the impact of currency fluctuations, though.