Hyundai Motor Q1 profit up 47 per cent image

Hyundai Motor on Thursday announced a sharp rise in first-quarter net profit amid brisk sales in overseas markets including China and the U.S.

The automaker posted a 47% jump in first-quarter net profit, giving the world’s fifth-largest automaker sales a strong start to a year that’s expected to see strong growth.
Thanks to a new addition in its range, with the introduction of the Grandeur premium sedan, as well as the Accent small car available on the Chinese market since the end of 2010, Hyundai increased its world sales by almost 9% last quarter, from the previous year the company said today.

Sales from overseas factories increased 14 percent, while sales in the domestic market were little changed. Shipments from Chinese plants climbed 13 percent and jumped 23 percent at the U.S. plant, the data showed.

Analysts see Hyundai and Kia, which are less reliant on Japanese parts than other global car makers such as General Motors , as among the biggest beneficiaries of a prolonged slump in Japanese output this year in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which savaged Japan’s auto sector supply chain and disrupted power supplies.

“Hyundai has been emerging as an alternative to Japanese cars, shaking off its image as a maker of cheap cars,” said Lee Dong-jin, a fund manager at KTB Asset Management. “It’s now seeing some benefits from increasing production at overseas plants while the world took a hit from the financial crisis.”