Hyundai Motor quarterly profit in the first quarter was halved as the company struggled in the US and China. However, there was better news in the domestic market, where the company benefited from troubles at GM's Korean operations.

Q1 net profit was 731.6bn won (around US$676m), almost 50% below last year's level. The result was below analyst expectations.

Hyundai also said that the won's rise against the dollar and industrial action in Korea, impacted the result.

The earnings are "very shocking, more shocking than ever,"Ko Tae-bong, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities, told Reuters.

Some analysts say the company has been slow to react to much higher demand for SUVs, especially in the US, where its factory is running at low capacity utilisation. However, they also point to some relief for the company ahead as important new models - in the SUV segment, such as the Santa Fe - are launched.

For the three months ended March, Hyundai posted sales of 22.44 trillion won, down 4% from a year ago; there was a 15% year-on-year drop in China and a 12% fall in the US. The company's domestic sales were up 5%.