Hyundai Motor has announced its business results for the fourth quarter of 2020, including a 40.9% gain to operating profit and revenue up 5.1%. It was boosted by strong sales of its SUVs in the US.

The company said it sold 1,139,583 units around the globe in the October-December period, a 4.7% decrease from the year earlier. Sales in markets outside of Korea decreased by 6.6% to 935,393 units as industry demand remained weak in most of markets around the world. Sales in Korea gained 5% to 204,190 units, led by new models, such as the Tucson SUV and Elantra sedan. The G80 sedan and GV80 SUV of Genesis luxury brand also helped to boost sales momentum.

Hyundai's operating profit in the fourth quarter climbed 40.9% from a year earlier to KRW 1.64 trillion, with operating profit margin reaching 5.6%, the highest since the first quarter of 2017.

Net profit (including non-controlling interest) increased to KRW 1.38 trillion from KRW 772.1 billion in the same period.

Hyundai said robust sales of SUV models and Genesis luxury models as well as declining incentives helped lift revenue in the fourth quarter despite an adverse economic environment and an unfavourable exchange rate. Sales recovery and market share expansion in North America, India and Russia also contributed to higher revenue, the company said.

In 2020, Hyundai's global sales totalled 3,744,737 units, down 15.4% from a year earlier. Revenue declined 1.65% from 2019 to KRW 104 trillion while operating profit dropped 22.9% to KRW 2.78 trillion. Net profit (including non-controlling interest) slid 33.5% to KRW 2.12 trillion.

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In 2021, the company aims for 14-15% revenue growth and 4-5% annual operating profit margin in the automotive division. The company aims for a total sales of 4.16 million vehicles this year.

Hyundai also said it aims to 'improve profitability and normalise sales in markets around the globe amid prolonging COVID-19 pandemic and a potential unfavourable shift in the currency environment'.