Hyundai Motor boosted net profit 17.4% year on year to KRW7.16 trillion in the nine months to 30 September from a year earlier, while operating profit rose 14.8% to KRW9.07 trillion.

Improved product mix and sales growth boosted sales revenue 7.8% to KRW61.75 trillion won (split into KRW52.55 trillion from vehicle sale/ and KRW9.2 trillion for ‘finance and other’).

“Strong overseas sales made up for sluggish demands in the Korean market, resulting in the overall year on year increase. Enhanced brand value and increased average selling price especially drove profit margin growth,” Hyundai said in a statement.

Unit sales rose 7.9% to 3,183,516 units (domestic: 481,403/overseas: 2,702,113) worldwide in the first nine months of 2012.

Nine-month domestic sales fell 5.6% to 481,403 units, due to “lowered consumer confidence and production shortfall”, but overseas sales were up 10.8% to 2,702,113 (Korean exports of 902,304 plus 1,799,809 assembled overseas).

Third quarter unit sales were 1,000,748 units for sales revenue of KRW19.65 trillion (auto: KRW16.23 trillion, finance/other: KRW3.42 trillion) and operating profit was KRW2.10 trillion with an operating margin of 10.5%.

But the automaker noted: “Compared to the second quarter, however, sales revenue dropped 10.5% and operating margin decreased by 0.9%.

“Continuously weak demands in the Korean domestic market and production shortfall caused by labour strikes contributed to halting the upward momentum of quarterly sales.”

Hyundai said “business uncertainties in the auto industry will continue through the fourth quarter to next year” but nonetheless expects “to achieve its sales target through various efforts such as offering better quality, differentiated marketing and improved dealer networks”.

It added that the European market was expected to shrink by about 8%.

“Despite the various measures taken to turn the slumping economy around, the downward trend continues to persist. In spite of economic indexes signaling improvement, the US market is not expected to make a significant recovery as well.

“Competition among major automakers stands to increase especially due to slowing demands from emerging markets such as China and India, once considered major drivers of the auto industry.

“Hyundai Motor Company aims to turn these difficulties into opportunities by improving company fundamentals and strengthening its competency by pursuing qualitative growth based on quality management.

“To do so, Hyundai will focus on launching strategic models for the local market and reinforcing dealer networks of its overseas sales subsidiaries in Europe. In the US, it will carry out aggressive local marketing activities to win over more market share from its rivals.

“Hyundai will also put forth its best efforts to stabilise operation at its third plant in China and its newest plant in Brazil, both of which started production this year, to secure a competitive position in the emerging markets.

“To proactively respond to changing global demands, Hyundai also plans to develop and sell more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly models.

“Hyundai Motor will continuously strive for qualitative growth, focusing on increasing profit margin rather than expansion.”