Hyundai Motor Co's second-quarter net profit stayed near a record high achieved a year earlier, beating market forecasts, as strong China growth overpowered rising competition and tight supply that eroded sales at home and in the United States. Hyundai Motor, which combined with its affiliate Kia Motors Corp is the world's fifth-biggest automaker, on Thursday reported a 2.52 trillion Korean won ($2.26 billion) net profit for April to June, compared with a consensus forecast of 2.39 trillion won from a Reuters' poll of analysts. This compared with 2.55 trillion won in net profit a year earlier, and 2.09 trillion won the preceding quarter.
The South Korean automaker posted an operating profit of 2.41 trillion won on sales of 23.18 trillion won in the second quarter. Hyundai shares went up 0.5 percent in a flat wider market as of 0509 GMT. Hyundai shares have inched up 2.3 percent so far this year, outperforming the wider market that has slipped 4.3 percent. Sales in China jumped 36 percent in the first half from a year earlier, even as the world's second biggest economy has slowed in nine of the past 10 quarters. Similarly, Ford Motor Co reported on Wednesday increased demand for its cars and trucks in China.
Last year, Hyundai started production at its third plant and launched a Chinese version of its Elantra compact, as Japanese rivals reeled from a sales decline stemming from a territorial row. Hyundai said its South Korean sales fell 0.7 percent in the first half from a year earlier, while its U.S. sales inched up 1.2 percent. Hyundai Motor's South Korean labour union refused to work during weekends over wages from March 9 to June 1, hurting both domestic shipments and exports to the United States and other markets from its biggest manufacturing base. Eyes are on whether Hyundai's labour union at home will stage summer strikes for a second consecutive year over annual wage talks, after its worst walkout last year in terms of production loss.
The South Korea won appreciated 2.6 percent against the dollar on average in the second quarter from a year earlier, reducing the value of its repatriated foreign earnings. In those crucial markets, Hyundai struggled to defend market share amid intensifying competition and the ageing of its models such as Sonata and Elantra. Hyundai cut vehicle prices or gave more incentives from a year ago to lure customers from rivals