SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. announced Thursday a net profit of 450.2 billion won ($401.8 million at current exchange rates) for the third quarter, up 49 percent from a year ago when the automaker was hit by a strike.
But, the automaker's third quarter profit was down from the second quarter's $455.0 million due to soft local sales, triggered by local economic slowdown amid a rising oil prices.
Hyundai Motor and four other automakers are depending on exports to make up for a slump in the domestic market.
Through nine months, exports to Hyundai's biggest market, the United States, reached 302,000 units, down 4.1 percent from a year ago. But, exports to Western Europe surged 26 percent to 241,000 units during the first nine months of this year.
Europe is rapidly emerging as a major market for Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors.
Kia Motors is building a plant in Slovakia for completion in late 2006, while Hyundai will open its Alabama plant in March next year.