Hyundai reports 15% drop in net profit

<p>Hyundai has seen its profit drop to its lowest level since 2010.</p>

Hyundai has reported its lowest profit level since 2010 following a disappointing performance in the last 12 months.

The South Korean carmaker announced that its net profit dropped by 15 per cent during 2014, falling to 7.65 trillion won (£4.6 billion). It was driven by a huge slide during the fourth quarter of the year where figures had fallen 22 per cent, compared to a year ago. It represented Hyundai's fourth consecutive quarterly drop.

Hyundai bosses placed the blame on international competition and shifts in currency for the company's faltering performance. The latest downturn in profits is likely to dampen investor confidence which was already shaky after Hyundai, when coupled with affiliate Kia Motors Corp, has been making some substantial purchases.

Despite the slowing growth, the companies have been involved in a £7 billion property purchase. Hyundai and Kia are splashing out on a new headquarters while it continues to perform below par. The firms have been hit by economic turmoil in Russia, where they currently rank as the second highest carmaker. A weak Japanese yen has also meant that cars in the US have now been made cheaper.

Hyundai is bracing itself for more challenges over the coming year. It said in a statement: "We expect competition to intensify in overseas markets, while makers of imported cars step up sales, boosted by tariff cuts and currency effects in the domestic market."

While Hyundai has been underperforming on a global scale, its UK arm hit record volumes during 2014. The company announced 82,159 registrationS during the past 12 months, signifying a record year and trebling its total from 2008. The i10 continued to be a hugely popular car with British consumers with sales of the model passing through the 25,000 mark. It was also recently named What Car? Best City Car.

Hyundai's share price fell 2.04 per cent on Thursday (January 22nd) following its announcement.

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