Hyundai Motor Q1 profit dips 12 percent on weakness in SUV segment

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South Korea’s Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) posted its ninth straight quarterly profit drop as it trailed rivals in tapping soaring demand for sport utility vehicles in China, its biggest market.

Hyundai’s strength in smaller, fuel-efficient sedans helped the automaker outperform the industry during the global economic downturn, but has left it reeling from a consumer shift to gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in recent years, driven by a slump in the price of oil.

Hyundai Motor, the world’s fifth-biggest automaker together with affiliate Kia Motors (000270.KS), reported on Tuesday a net profit of 1.69 trillion won ($1.47 billion) for the first quarter, down 12 percent from the year-ago quarter and compared with the 1.46 trillion won average estimate of 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Operating profit declined 16 percent to 1.34 trillion won, while revenue rose 7 percent to 22.35 trillion won.

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