The South Korean automaker posted an operating profit of 2.41 trillion won on sales of 23.18 trillion won in the second quarter. Hyundai shares went up 0.5 percent in a flat wider market as of 0509 GMT. Hyundai shares have inched up 2.3 percent so far this year, outperforming the wider market that has slipped 4.3 percent. Sales in China jumped 36 percent in the first half from a year earlier, even as the world's second biggest economy has slowed in nine of the past 10 quarters. Similarly, Ford Motor Co reported on Wednesday increased demand for its cars and trucks in China.
Last year, Hyundai started production at its third plant and launched a Chinese version of its Elantra compact, as Japanese rivals reeled from a sales decline stemming from a territorial row. Hyundai said its South Korean sales fell 0.7 percent in the first half from a year earlier, while its U.S. sales inched up 1.2 percent. Hyundai Motor's South Korean labour union refused to work during weekends over wages from March 9 to June 1, hurting both domestic shipments and exports to the United States and other markets from its biggest manufacturing base. Eyes are on whether Hyundai's labour union at home will stage summer strikes for a second consecutive year over annual wage talks, after its worst walkout last year in terms of production loss.
The South Korea won appreciated 2.6 percent against the dollar on average in the second quarter from a year earlier, reducing the value of its repatriated foreign earnings. In those crucial markets, Hyundai struggled to defend market share amid intensifying competition and the ageing of its models such as Sonata and Elantra. Hyundai cut vehicle prices or gave more incentives from a year ago to lure customers from rivals and to ignite demand for its ageing models, analysts said.
Hyundai, once a stellar performer in the U.S market, has been losing market share this year, partly because its factories have been unable to keep up with demand in the recovering market which posted its strongest month since 2007 in June. In Europe, Hyundai's sales declined 9 percent, with the region's car sales slumping to their lowest levels in 20 years in the first half of this year because of dismal economic conditions.