Hyundai-Kia continues to lead the way out of the world economic and automotive downturn, surging ahead this year with record sales, trend-defying profits and infrastructural expansion.
In the first six months of 2009, Hyundai overtook Ford in fourth place in global sales.
In the third quarter, Hyundai’s net profit of AUD$908 million equalled the combined earnings of Toyota and Honda – its shares soaring 50 per cent compared to Toyota’s three per cent decline.
And last month South Korea signed more than 40 free trade agreements with the EU, giving them easier access to the European market at a time when its small, fuel efficient vehicles are in increasing demand.
The trend is matched in Australia where Hyundai’s October sales rocketed by more than 100 per cent month-on-month to reach 6281, while a year-to-date increase of 42 per cent over 2008 is unmatched across the industry.
After hitting a 20-year low against the Japanese yen in February, the Korean won has since increased by 27 per cent, aiding the company’s successes.
Japanese brands Toyota, Honda and Nissan responded to the strengthening of the yen against the US dollar by shifting production overseas, cutting exports in the middle two quarters by 43 per cent to 64 per cent in total.
Hyundai is similarly trying to establish itself as a global manufacturer with plants in Russia and Brazil on the way, adding to those already in the US, India, China, Turkey and the Czech Republic.
By Tim Beissmann (with Automotive News)