Strong overseas sales offset declines at home in Korea for Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia.

Hyundai's global sales grew 18% despite a 10% fall in domestic sales, as demand overseas soared 24%. At Kia, global sales rose 7% as domestic sales declined 9%, Reuters reported.

"The US market is faring better than expected while the European market is not doing well but Hyundai and Kia are growing in that sluggish market. Their sales growth will continue in the second quarter," Eric Choi, an analyst at Shinhan Investment, told the news agency.

Hyundai has said it expects its US sales in March to hit a monthly record, surpassing 65,000, which would mark at least a 5% rise from last year. The USauto market is expected to cap the best quarter in four years in March.

Hyundai and Kia are aiming to revive sales in their captive home market with new model launches, even as a free trade deal between the United States and South Korea, which went into effect on 15 March, makes US-made cars more price-competitive. South Korea's free trade pact with the European Union went into effect last year.