Hyundai Motor Co. said Wednesday it will not
consider producing mini-cars in South Korea due to low profit
margins, a company spokesman said.
``Sales of vehicles with one-liter engines and smaller in Korea
do not make high profits,'' Hyundai Motor spokesman Jake Jang said,
adding that Hyundai gave up producing mini-cars in South Korea in
Mini-car car models will continue to be produced in Hyundai
Motor's Chennai plant in India, which has an annual capacity of
600,000 vehicles, he said.
In the small car category, which means engines between 1.3 liters
and 2 liters, Hyundai manufactures two models in South Korea, the
Avante and Verna, known abroad as the Accent, Jang said.
``Hyundai Motor will have to focus on mid-size vehicles in Korea
where mid-size and large-size cars are usually preferred to mini
cars,'' said Hahn Kum-hee, an analyst at Samsung Securities Co.
Despite high oil prices, domestic demand for mini-cars has
remained flat, she said.
Hyundai Motor sold 240,953 vehicles in October, up 15 per cent
from 209,047 vehicles a year ago. Strong sales of the Santa Fe and
Veracruz SUVs in the United States and the i30 hatchback in Europe
boosted the month's numbers.
Local sales rose 8.9 per cent from last year to 55,224 vehicles.
Exports were up 17 per cent to 185,729 vehicles.
For the 10 months through October, the automaker sold 511,825
vehicles domestically _ up 9.6 per cent from the same period last
year _ while exports rose 4.2 percent to 1,627,345 vehicles.
Hyundai Motor, which owns 38.6 per cent of Kia Motors Corp., is
South Korea's biggest automaker.