Hyundai forecasts robust growth in EV sales

Hyundai forecasts robust growth in EV sales

SEOUL Hyundai Motor Co believes that there will be solid backorder demand in major car markets and forecast robust growth in electric vehicle sales, including in the United States, where regulatory concerns have clouded its outlook.

The South Korean maker of the Ioniq 5 model wants to reach 330,000 EV sales in 2023 and increase its U.S. electric car sales to reach 150 per cent of its U.S. vehicle sales, according to the South Korean maker of the Ioniq 5 model.

The automaker reported a tripling of net profit, albeit one that didn't meet expectations at its fourth-quarter earnings briefing. It said it was cancelling treasury shares equivalent to 1 per cent of its outstanding stock.

The fourth quarter continued thanks to increased sales volume and solid sales of high-margin vehicles as well as favourable exchange rates, said Seo Gang Hyun, executive vice president.

Like many other automakers, Hyundai benefited from the tight supply of new vehicles last year, which kept retail prices high.

Seo said that the plant utilisation rate, excluding China, increased 7.6 per cent, to 96.8 per cent, a gain of 7.6 per cent from the previous quarter.

Net profit for October-December increased to 1.7 trillion won $1.4 billion on a 24 per cent increase in revenue. The Hyundai one-off costs were booked in the same period a year earlier, which made the profit growth particularly strong.

The automaker did not elaborate on a non-recurring loss that made it fall short of a Refinitiv SmartEstimate of 2.5 trillion won drawn from 18 analysts.

Both Hyundai and affiliate Kia Corp have been dogged by the fact that they are not yet makingEVs in North America because of President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which excludes Korean automakers from federal tax credits.

The secretary of state for economic growth, energy and environment, Jose Fernandez, told an event at a Washington-based think tank this week that Washington is looking for ways to improve some of what Koreans believe are unfair consequences. According to South Korean media on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as Hyundai's upbeat targets, helped the shares of Hyundai end the day 5.6 per cent higher, while those in Kia surged 6.6 per cent.

Hyundai has a goal for revenue growth of 10.5 per cent -- 11.5 per cent this year. It expects to see a 9.6 per cent jump in North American vehicle sales and a 20.5 per cent increase in China vehicle sales.

It also warned of potential improvement in its operating profit margin and predicted a margin between 6.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent, compared to 6.9 per cent last year.

Hyundai's plans come on the heels of a positive outlook provided by Tesla Inc. hours ago, which said its aggressive price cuts have ignited a wave of demand for its vehicles.