Hyundai Motor Co. logged a 15-percent jump in net income in the fourth quarter of 2013 to KRW2.06 trillion ($1.9 billion), from KRW1.79 trillion in the same period in 2012. Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong Koo expects the weakest sales growth in eight years for 2014, no thanks to stiffer competition and the stronger won that affects exports.
The results, however, failed to meet analyst expectations, missing the KRW2.22-trillion average of 19 analysts’ estimates polled by Bloomberg. The results came after a tumultuous year for Hyundai. During 2013, Hyundai replaced its US chief to revitalized weakening results; its chief technology officer resigned following record recalls; and the company and Kia agreed to settle US lawsuits for overstating fuel-economy ratings.
“The strong won remains a concern for the company,” Shin Chung Kwan, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities Co., told Bloomberg by phone. He expects Hyundai to maintain its profit margins of up to 9.5 percent, complemented by sales of new profitable models. This year, Hyundai is set to roll out the overhauled Sonata sedan and commence sales of its Genesis sedan in the United States and Europe.
Hyundai intends to hike sales in 2014 by 3.8 percent to 4.9 million vehicles, -- the weakest sales growth target in eight years, according to company data obtained by Bloomberg News. Hyundai expects global auto demand to surge by 4.1 percent to 84.6 million units, with China gaining 12 percent, the US by 3.4 percent and Europe by 2.5 percent, Hyundai chief financial officer Lee Won Hee remarked.