Hyundai Motor reported on Thursday that its quarterly profit had almost quadrupled as its small cars proved popular with recession-weary buyers. Fourth-quarter net profit reached 945.5 billion won, or $819.7 million, considerably more than analysts’ forecasts. That total compared with profit of 243.5 billion won in the fourth quarter of 2008 and profit of 979.1 billion won in the third quarter of 2009. Sales in the October-December quarter grew 9.3 percent from the same period a year earlier, to 9.65 trillion won.
Hyundai’s robust earnings were reported as shares in Toyota Motor, the world’s largest auto maker, fell sharply because of concerns about its image and profits after it halted sales of several top models in the United States to fix an accelerator fault. “Hyundai still has a lot of momentum, particularly compared with Toyota,” said Mitsuru Kurokawa, an analyst at IHS Global Insight in Tokyo. “They’ve got a lot going for them: a broad compact-car lineup, attractive prices for the quality they offer and clever marketing.”
With its affiliate, Kia Motors, Hyundai is the world’s No. 4 automaker, behind Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. Hyundai was a big winner last year, which brought a shift to smaller cars and government incentives worldwide for car buyers. Popular low-cost models and savvy marketing helped it grab market share in the United States and in China, now the world’s biggest auto market, where its Elantra is the best-selling foreign car.
Source: New York Times