Slow US growth is hampering profits at Hyundai. In its first quarter financial statement, the Korean automaker reported a profit of 1.93 trillion won ($1.86 billion). According to Reuters, this is less than analysts' expectations and nearly the same as last year.
Even with the arrival of the new Hyundai Genesis Sedan (above) and the expected introduction of at least two other new vehicles in 2014, Hyundai-Kia is estimating its sales will only increase by about 4.1 percent this year. Bloomberg has found that figure, which works out to a total of 7.86 million vehicles worldwide, to be lower than average analyst estimates of eight million vehicles. If the automaker is correct, that figure will represent the most sluggish growth for the Korean brands since 2
Although it may be a distinction of mild importance on a global scale, Hyundai announced that last month it set an all-time sales record for the month of April. Digging a little deeper, Hyundai-Blog – an enthusiast site not affiliated with the South Korean automaker – is reporting that another record was set: to go along with 63,315 total sales in April, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama assembled a record 37,372 Elantra and Sonata sedans.
Automotive News reports both Hyundai and Kia have stepped up fleet sales in an attempt to offset disappointing first quarter results. The Korean automakers saw their sales decline by nine percent compared to last year, while all major competitors managed to increase their sales. That situation marks an inversion of two years ago, when both gained ground after Japanese rivals suffered production and inventory shortages after the country's earthquake and tsunami tragedies.
Less than a week into the month, and Hyundai has already announced that it has set an all-time sales record for the year in the US. Beating last year's best-ever total of 645,691, Hyundai's record-setting numbers are up eight percent through November, and it has broken monthly sales records in every month so far this year excluding June and October, which includes an all-time monthly record set in March of 69,728 units.
A sale is a sale, right? Well, at least in the automotive world, that's not entirely true. A sale to a regular consumer is, generally speaking and for a number of reasons, much more attractive to an automaker than a sale to a fleet company (sales to companies or the government, for instance).
Why is this man smiling? Well, it could be because hotcakes only wish they were selling as well as Hyundais. Or perhaps that grin says he knows something we don't – like when and where his company plans to build a second North American assembly plant.
Hyundai has had a big year, and the results are showing in the form of healthy profits. According to BusinessWeek, the Korean automaker earned $1.75 billion in the first quarter, up 46 percent versus the first quarter of 2010. Overall revenue was up 21 percent to $17 billion.
Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik believes that some automakers are starting a price war, which would be an unwise move that focuses solely on short-term sales.
2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T – Click above for high-res image gallery
2011 Hyundai Sonata – Click above for high-res image gallery
2010 Hyundai Equus - Click above for high-res image gallery
As Hyundai continues to pull itself up by its bootstraps, the company is moving decisively and picking up share around the globe. However, one key market continues to be so problematic for the brand that they've decided to abandon it altogether: Japan. Rather than dodder around and wait for its disappointing performance to improve, Hyundai is tying off the bleeder that is the company's Japanese market presence. The cars themselves, either under Hyundai badging or as Kias, have become contenders
If you haven't noticed, Hyundai's been on a multifaceted tear lately. Earlier this year, Hyundai came out with its Hyundai Assurance Program, letting customers return their cars if they suffered a loss of employment. CEO John Krafcik confirms that Hyundai Assurance is staying until the end of 2009, and its future beyond that is under serious scrutiny. Aside from its new models, the innovative car-return initiative was probably the biggest news to come out of Hyundai all year, and other automaker
So far, Hyundai has been the only automaker in the U.S. to accept early trade-ins under the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), or Cash-for-Clunkers (CFC), program. Most are waiting for the U.S. Department of Transportation to finalize the program's rules and regulations by July 24th, but Hyundai decided to start early since the program covers all transactions dating back to July 1st. Since the government hasn't set up a reimbursement process for the rebates that range from $3,500 to $4,500 just