Brisk sales in emerging mkts to offset Hyundai, Kia’s weak sales in China, U.S.

2018.05.15 09:31:59 | 2018.05.15 15:07:13

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South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and its smaller sibling Kia Motors Corp. grappling with slow sales in the world’s two biggest auto markets would heave a sigh of relief with brisk sales in four major emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India, and Mexico.

According to Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors on Monday, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors sold combined 427,408 vehicles in Brazil, Russia, India, and Mexico in the first four months of this year, up 15.1 percent from the same period a year ago. The on-year increase in sales in the four emerging markets is notable considering that their total global sales grew 1.9 percent on year during the same period.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors’ car sales in Mexico grew the most among the four countries, jumping 19 percent on year with their vehicles accounting for 10.5 percent of the country’s automotive market share.

Thanks to such robust sales, the four emerging markets made up an all-time high of 18.4 percent in the Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors` entire global sales in the January-April period. Industry analysts noted that if the current trend continues, the two automakers will be able to break their combined record share in the four markets this year.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors vehicle sales in the four emerging markets have steadily increased from 709,000 units in 2010 to 1,212,000 units last year after opening a series of new factories in those countries - Russia in 2011, Brazil in 2012, and Mexico in 2016. The two automakers’ combined share in the four markets rose from 9.4 percent to 14.2 percent over the cited period. As of the end of April, cars of Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors took 14.8 percent of the total vehicle sales in the four markets.

Encouraged by the recent brisk sales in the emerging markets, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have set a target to sell 10 percent more cars together across the globe in the second quarter of this year than a year ago. The last time the two Korean carmakers reported a double-digit growth in total global sales for a quarter was the first quarter of 2012 when their on-year sales jumped 14.6 percent.

Early this year, the two carmakers announced it would sell total 7.55 million vehicles in the global market for this year on expectations that sales in emerging markets could offset weak sales in China and the U.S.

Early last year, the automakers saw their sales in China, the world’s largest car market, nearly halved from the previous year as a result of Beijing’s state-sponsored boycott of Korean brands following Seoul’s decision to install an U.S. anti-missile system. The recovery of their car sales in the market has been slower than expected. Demand for their cars in the U.S. has also softened amid a lack of fresh models and a strengthening Korean won against a U.S. dollar, which makes Korean cars less attractive than its global rivals.

By Kim Jung-hwan and Lee Eun-joo

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