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Hyundai profit slips 11% as China sales suffer

Staff writer |
Hyundai Motor first quarter profit slid 11% as demand slowed in China and emerging markets, and fierce competition pushed up marketing costs in the U.S.

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Hyundai followed other global car makers in sounding an alarm on China, the world's biggest auto market.

For Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors, the number of vehicles sold there in March was down from a year earlier for a third straight month, after full-year sales fell in 2015 for the first time since 2007.

The decline this year in China dims the prospects for their full-year target of 8.13 million cars globally. Combined, Hyundai and Kia are the world's No. 5 auto maker by sales, and China is their top market. Hyundai said it is seeking ways to turn around its business in China.

In the U.S., the Korean company shipped a record number of automobiles in the first quarter, but sales costs were up from a year earlier as Hyundai spent more to lure customers.

January-March net profit was 1.77 trillion won ($1.54 billion), Hyundai said, down from 1.98 trillion won a year earlier, though better than market expectations of 1.44 trillion won. It was the ninth straight quarterly profit decline.

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