Hyundai Motor Q1 profit up 47 percent on new models

Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co <005380.KS> reported a 47 percent rise in quarterly net profit on Thursday, driven by strong global demand for its new models and as its Japanese rivals grapple with the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Hyundai, the world's fifth-biggest carmaker along with affiliate Kia Motors <000270.KS>, is expected to see its earnings grow further in the second quarter on the back of higher market share and reduced incentives.

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Analysts see Hyundai and Kia, which are less reliant on Japanese parts than other global car makers such as General Motors <GM.N>, as among the biggest beneficiaries of a prolonged slump in Japanese output this year in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which savaged Japan's auto sector supply chain and disrupted power supplies.

Honda Motor Co <7267.T>, Japan's No.3 automaker and fourth-biggest in the U.S. market, said on Monday it would take until the end of the year before production returned to normal, echoing recent comments from Toyota <7203.T>.

Hyundai reported a 1.88 trillion Korean won ($1.7 billion)in January-March net profit, compared with 1.28 trillion won a year ago.

Hyundai was reporting earnings on a consolidated basis to reflect earnings of its affiliates including financial operations under new accounting rules, and there were no consensus guidelines for the result.

Hyundai outperformed its global peers in the last quarter thanks to popular models such as the Sonata mid-sized sedan and the Elantra compact in the United States, South Korea and other markets, analysts said.

Shares in Hyundai rose 2.8 percent by 0450 GMT versus a 0.3 percent drop in the wider market <.KS11>. ($1 = 1077.550 Korean Won)

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Matt Driskill and Jonathan Hopfner)

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