SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) — Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Corp. aim for a 13 percent increase in U.S. sales this year by selling more SUV and high-end models.

Hyundai and Kia are targeting to sell a combined 1,360,000 vehicles in the U.S. market in 2021, up from 1,208,374 units they sold a year earlier, the companies said.

Their U.S. sales stood at 1,304,109 units in 2019.

The two South Korean carmakers expect to achieve the sales target despite the COVID-19 pandemic as demand for Hyundai’s Palisade, Kona and Venue SUVs and Kia’s Telluride SUV is expected to remain strong this year.

Hyundai launched the GV80 SUV and the G80 sedan under its independent Genesis brand in the U.S. market at the end of last year, while planning to produce the Tucson SUV at its Alabama plant for local sales from the first quarter.

To boost sales, Hyundai plans to launch the GV70 SUV in the U.S. market in the second quarter.

The carmakers will focus on improving their product mix and lower incentives in the world’s most important automobile market.

For the whole of 2020, Hyundai and Kia’s overall sales fell 12 percent to 6.35 million autos from 7.19 million a year ago as the pandemic weighed on consumer sentiment.

They aim to sell 7.08 million vehicles in global markets this year as they expect vehicle sales to improve on the supplying of COVID-19 vaccines.

This file photo, taken on Jan. 14, 2021, shows Hyundai and Kia’s headquarters buildings in Yangjae, southern Seoul. (Yonhap)