Hyundai Motor reports 10th straight quarterly profit drop

SEOUL, South Korea – Hyundai Motor Co. has reported a tenth straight quarterly profit decline due to weak demand for passenger sedans and higher marketing expenses for its luxury brand, despite improved China sales.

South Korea’s largest automaker said Tuesday that its April-June quarterly net income was 1.76 trillion won ($1.55 billion), down 1.5 per cent over a year earlier. Sales rose 8 per cent to 24.68 trillion won ($21.7 billion).

Global sales of passenger sedans such as the Elantra and Accent were weaker. The number of vehicles exported from Hyundai’s Korea factories to overseas slumped 11 per cent.

Domestic car sales rose ahead of the phase out of a government tax cut but the gains were offset by lower sales in overseas markets.

Hyundai also spent more on marketing to promote its luxury brand Genesis ahead of new vehicle launches in the U.S.

The automaker’s sales in China jumped during the second quarter thanks to launches of new models, including the revamped Tucson, and to government tax cuts for small cars. Passenger sedans have been losing favour with Chinese consumers, taking a toll on Hyundai, which in the past has done well with the Sonata and other sedans.

Hyundai, the world’s fifth-largest car manufacturer along with its smaller affiliate Kia, expects a tough business environment for the rest of 2016 due to increased global uncertainties.

The company said it will step up production of sports utility vehicles, such as Santa Fe and Tucson, in China and in the U.S. to meet growing demand while building the Genesis luxury brand.