Hyundai Sales Climb as Japan Quake Disrupts Rivals’ Output

Hyundai Motor Co. (005380), South Korea’s largest carmaker, posted the biggest monthly gain in exports since January as the March 11 earthquake in Japan disrupted output at rival manufacturers.

Hyundai Motor sold 364,809 vehicles last month, 14 percent more than a year earlier, led by an 18 percent jump in overseas sales, according to a statement by the Seoul-based company. Hyundai’s Kia Motors Corp. (000270) affiliate sold 212,348 vehicles in the month, an 11 percent gain from a year earlier.

The South Korean automakers have expanded their U.S. market share as Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Honda Motor Co. curtailed output after the magnitude-9 temblor and ensuing tsunami in Japan led to shortages of power and parts. Hyundai and Kia said today that global demand is growing for “steady sellers,” including Hyundai’s Elantra sedan and Kia’s Forte compact.

Overseas sales at Hyundai rose to 305,923 in the month, the fastest growth in nine months based on unadjusted October figures, while domestic sales fell 6 percent.

Kia exports jumped 15 percent in October, and domestic sales fell 4.3 percent.

Hyundai rose 2 percent to 231,500 won at the 3:30 p.m. close in Seoul trading. Kia climbed 3.3 percent to 74,700 won, while the benchmark Kospi index was little changed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rose Kim in Seoul at Rkim76@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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