Hyundai Motor Co. reported a 48% increase in fourth-quarter profit as sales in the U.S. and China went up amid the increasing global auto demand. In a regulatory filing, Hyundai said that its net income rose to a record 1.4 trillion won ($1.3 billion) in the three months ended Dec. 31 compared to 945.5 billion won a year earlier.
Analysts anticipate a 1.41 trillion won profit, according to the average of 16 estimates surveyed by Bloomberg. Meanwhile, its revenue grew 3.1% to 9.94 trillion won.
Hyundai attracted buyers with its new versions of the Sonata sedans, Elantra compacts and Tucson sport-utility vehicles while a strong yen hampered the competitiveness of Japanese rivals including Toyota Motor Corp.
Hyundai's U.S. sales went up by 38% from the previous year to 128,181 vehicles in the quarter, while its deliveries rose by 22% in China and 6.5% in Europe.
Before the announcement, Chang In Whan, president of KTB Asset Management in Seoul, said that Hyundai's brand value and quality improved with the launch of various new models.
Chang, whose company manages the equivalent of $6.7 billion in assets including Hyundai’s stock, said that the carmaker is expected to sustain its growth but it “may face a challenge from a strengthening won later this year.”
Chief Financial Officer Lee Won Hee said that it expects sales to reach 3.9 million vehicles in 2011. Hyundai’s global market share last year was 5.2%.