Hyundai Motor profit up 10pct, Helped by strong SUV sales in Europe image

Hyundai Motor Co., Korea’s leading automaker, said Thursday that its net income rose 10 percent to 2.55 trillion won ($2.2 billion) from 2.31 trillion won a year earlier.

Sales rose 9.2 percent year-on-year to 21.94 trillion won and operating profit climbed 18 percent to 2.5 trillion won.

Favourable exchange rates absorbed the impact of sluggish domestic sales, the company said, adding it also benefited from higher product prices and lower steel costs.

This marks Hyundai Motor’s 13th straight quarter of rising profits, as the company, led by founding family member Chung Mong-koo, outperformed peers struggling with the global economic downturn.

Hyundai vowed it would meet its target of selling 4.29 million vehicles this year even though demand for cars is expected to weaken in China and debt-laden Europe over the remainder of 2012. The company, however, reduced its expectations for overall global car sales this year.

Hyundai sold 2.18 million vehicles in the six months, a 12 percent increase from a year earlier.

The company said auto sales in Europe and the United States grew more than 10 percent during the first half of this year, offsetting lower sales in South Korea.

“Hyundai is selling cars all over the world, so it can’t avoid a global demand slowdown. Hyundai’s models are also ageing, while competitors are launching new models,” Kim Young-min, a fund manager at IBK Asset Management, said.