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Hyundai's quarterly profit jumps 52 per cent on domestic demand, cost cuts

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SEOUL (AP) _ South Korea's biggest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Thursday its second quarter net profit rose 52 per cent from a year earlier on robust domestic demand and cost-cutting efforts.

Hyundai Motor, the world's sixth-largest carmaker by sales, said net profit for the three months through June grew to 611.5 billion won (US$666 million) from 403.1 billion won a year earlier.

Sales rose 15 per cent during the quarter to 8.03 trillion won ($8.7 billion).

The net profit was higher than expected. The average forecast of 10 analysts in a survey had predicted a net profit of 520.3 billion won.

``From April to June, strong sales of the new Grandeur premium sedans, the mid-sized Sonata sedans and the new Avante compact cars gave a boost to the bottom line,'' said Jake Jang, a company spokesman.

To cushion the impact from the strong won, which erodes export income, Hyundai began speeding up its cost-cutting efforts this year and it is paying off, Hyundai Motor's Executive Vice President Chung Tae-Hwan said in an investor relations session held after the announcement.

Hyundai Motor is targeting to cut costs by one trillion won ($1.09 billion) for this year, he said. The U.S. currency weakened to 918.20 won as of Thursday from 929.80 won as of the end of 2006.

In the first half, the automaker posted net profit of 918.9 billion won, up 23 per cent from 745.5 billion won a year ago. Sales rose 4.9 per cent to 2.775 trillion won.

In terms of vehicles sold, Hyundai said it sold 840,722 units in the first six months, up 1.2 per cent from 831,067 a year earlier. In the second quarter, it sold a total of 453,259 units, up 10 per cent from 412,630 units a year ago.

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Hyundai's quarterly profit jumps 52 per cent on domestic demand, cost cuts
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