Hyundai Motor said Thursday its second-quarter sales reached a record W23.18 trillion powered by booming sales of its cars overseas (US$1=W1,117). This also brought total sales in the first half of the year to an all-time high of W44.55 trillion.
Domestic sales shrank 0.7 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, but overseas sales surged 23.3 percent.
Second-quarter operating profit stood at W2.4 trillion, while first-half operating profit totaled W4.28 trillion, down 7.7 percent compared to the first half of 2012. It fell despite increased sales, because operating rates in domestic plants decreased.
As a result, the company's ratio of operating profit to net sales fell from 11 percent in the first half of last year to 9.6 percent this year.
Hyundai made up for the shortfall in domestic sales with aggressive marketing overseas. Its U.S. plants operated on three shifts to achieve an operating rate of 110 percent, while plants in China and Brazil were pushed to full capacity. That meant production overseas accounted for 61.4 percent of total production, an all-time high.
Global automobile demand fell around 2 percent during the first half, but Hyundai saw overall sales rise 9.5 percent to 2.39 million vehicles.
Sales in China stood out in particular with a 35.6 percent increase, while sales also rose 6.3 percent in emerging markets like Brazil. But in the U.S. they only increased 1.2 percent as Toyota, Nissan and other Japanese rivals offered major incentives there thanks to the weak yen, while Detroit’s Big Three aggressively marketed pick-ups.
Hyundai expects a similar trend in the second half. "We will continue to face tough challenges in the domestic market due to the rising popularity of imports," said Lee Won-hee, a vice president at the auto giant. He added that global demand will drop further than expected because the eurozone slump is getting worse.