Hyundai Motor sees weak May sales

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Hyundai Motor sees weak May sales

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Hyundai Motor is trying hard to secure the Korean market against foreign brands led by German cars, but the company had disappointing sales in May.

The nation’s leading automaker said it sold 389,399 cars - 54,990 in Korea and 334,309 overseas - last month.

Domestic sales were down 8.2 percent from April and 6.4 percent year-on-year.

Industry insiders had predicted the company’s sales would increase from April because of its first interest-free, 36-month installment program announced in May.

“We expected the special offer to boost the sales, but the impact was smaller than our expectation,” Hwang Kwan-sik, a spokesman for Hyundai Motor, told the Korea JoongAng Daily. “Since there were many holidays in May, both production and sales declined from a month earlier, but because we have received many orders for popular models such as new Tucson SUV and Sonata sedan and also will have more working days this month, we expect the sales to increase.”

As part of its efforts to boost sales, the company decided to continue the interest-free, 36-month installment offer in June for its popular Avante small sedan, Sonata and Sonata hybrid.

However, buyers this month will be required to put down 20 percent of the purchase price.

“This is a rare move by the company because we offered the interest-free promotion for only one year in 1997, when the country was in a financial crisis,” the spokesman said. “Since our goal is to recover a 40 percent share in the domestic market by the end of the first half, we will continue to strengthen our marketing strategies to attract more consumers.”

The best-selling car for Hyundai Motor was the Sonata with 9,495 units, including 1,259 hybrids, followed by the Tucson SUV (7,270), Avante sedan (6,620) and Grandeur (6,609).

One good indicator for the company was that sales of SUVs increased by 9.5 percent from May 2014 to a total of 13,466 units, thanks to the new Tucson and increasing demand for outdoor activity vehicles.

The nation’s smallest automaker, Ssangyong Motor, was the happiest in the domestic market as it sold 7,753 cars last month, a 47.1 percent jump from a year earlier, thanks to its Tivoli SUV, which the company started selling in mid-January.

Ssangyong said it sold more than 5,000 Tivolis in each of the past two months for cumulative sales of 20,000 over about four months.

The 47.1 percent year-on-year increase was the biggest of any Korean automaker in May.

“Since we started selling Tivoli abroad, we also expect sales in the global market will be improved,” said Choi Johng-sik, chief executive officer of Ssangyong.

Other automakers with strong performances in May were GM Korea and Renault Samsung.

GM exported 42,474 units last month, up 5.2 percent from last year. It was the company’s first year-on-year increase in exports since last July.

Renault Samsung exported 12,332 cars, approximately double last year’s 6,132, thanks to the success of the Nissan Rogue SUV.


BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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