Hyundai Motor’s yearly earnings hit record

With upbeat earnings in the third quarter, Hyundai Motor Group's yearly operating revenue has surpassed the 20 trillion won ($14.8 billion) mark, the company’s earnings report showed Friday.

The South Korean auto giant’s Hyundai and Kia brands hit a combined 20.8 trillion won in operating profit and sales revenue of 196.5 trillion won during the January-September period. The two carmakers’ annual profit and revenue in 2022 were 17.5 trillion won and 229.8 trillion won, respectively.

It is yet another earnings record for Hyundai Motor Group. Last year, it became the world’s third-largest carmaker after selling over 6.8 million units, following Toyota and Volkswagen Group.

The stellar record comes after Hyundai and Kia’s announcement on their third-quarter earnings reports this week.

On Thursday, Hyundai announced its operating profit from the July to September period surged 146.3 percent from last year to 3.8 trillion won, the highest figure since 2011.

It sold a total of 1.04 million cars worldwide, up 2 percent on-year. Sales revenue also jumped 8.7 percent to 41 trillion won in the same period, mostly driven by a surge in sales of profitable car lineups including sport utility vehicles as well as its premium brand Genesis cars.

Hyundai’s smaller affiliate Kia on Friday said it posted record-high earnings in the third quarter. Its operating profits skyrocketed by 272.9 percent to 2.9 trillion won compared to a year earlier, while revenue increased 10.3 percent to 25.5 trillion won. It sold 778,213 units abroad and within Korea, a 3.5 percent jump in the same period.

Seo Gang-hyun, chief financial officer at Hyundai Motor Group, said a shift from volume expansion to a profit-first strategy has been conducive despite the global economic slowdown during a conference call held Friday.

For Hyundai, highly profitable SUV models including Santa Fe, Tucson, Palisade, and Genesis cars made up around 60 percent of total sales in the third quarter, improving the product portfolio. Kia also said its flagship recreational vehicles such as Sportage, Sorrento and Carnival took up 68.7 percent of the total sales.

Hyundai’s US business posted its highest-ever sales with a 27 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Seo noted the company expects continuous growth for SUV sales there, with the new Santa Fe waiting for its debut next year. As one of the firm’s car lineup targeted at the US market, the boxy SUV was jointly developed with Hyundai’s local design centers to cater to the needs of the US customers.

Despite a drop in sales in emerging markets -- China, India and Vietnam -- Kia said the sales in the US and Europe jumped 7.9 percent.

Joo Woo-jeong, the chief financial official at Kia, said the company will strive for a turnaround in the Chinese business with the launch of the new EV5 launch of in November. For India, it plans to roll out Sonet PE and expand its footing in the compact SUV market.

As for EVs, Joo said, “Our rivals are not just other electric cars but internal combustion engine and hybrid cars. With the recent drop in raw materials prices, I think we can compete head-on with hybrid cars in terms of cost. We plan to increase our market share (in the EV business) while maintaining high profitability.”

Kia is to expand its EV lineups with new models. The EV3 is to go into production in the second quarter of next year, EV4 in the third and fourth quarters of 2024.

Hyundai and Kia are expected to achieve their annual guidance on profitability, projected earlier this year. Hyundai said it is likely to hit the upper band of the guidance -- 15 percent growth in sales and 9 percent operating profit margin -- while Kia vowed to post a 11.5-12 percent profit margin.

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