By Choi Kyong-ae
SEOUL, May 4 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. said Monday their combined sales in the United States fell 39 percent in April from a year earlier due to the coronavirus outbreak affecting the auto industry.
Hyundai and Kia sold a total of 66,479 vehicles in the world's most important automobile market last month, down from 108,410 units a year ago, according to the companies' data.
The data includes sales figures of Hyundai's independent Genesis brand models.
"The COVID-19 global pandemic significantly disrupted the U.S. auto industry in April. We look forward to supporting our dealers and customers as cities, counties and states slowly reopen, and we begin returning to work after this tragic pandemic," Vice President Randy Parker in charge of national sales at Hyundai Motor America said in a statement.
From January to April, the South Korean carmakers sold a combined 339,254 autos in the U.S., down 15 percent from 396,793 units in the year-ago period, the data showed.
Hyundai and Kia have suspended most of their overseas plants to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep inventories at manageable levels.
They stopped operations at all of their domestic plants on April 30, with the suspension scheduled to last until Tuesday.
Hyundai has seven domestic plants and 10 overseas plants -- four in China and one each in the United States, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, India and Brazil. Their combined capacity reaches 5.5 million vehicles.
Kia, which is 34 percent owned by Hyundai, has eight domestic passenger vehicle plants and seven overseas ones -- three in China and one each in the U.S., Slovakia, Mexico and India. Their overall capacity is 3.84 million units.
Their domestic sales figures are set to be released Wednesday.
Hyundai's net profit for the January-March quarter plunged 42 percent to 552.68 billion won (US$449 million) from 953.79 billion won a year earlier. Kia's also plummeted 59 percent to 265.97 billion won from 649.1 billion won during the same period.
The carmakers said they will focus on boosting domestic sales for the time being with new models, such as the Genesis GV80 SUV, the Genesis G80 sedan, the Kia Sorento SUV and the Hyundai Avante compact.
Hyundai and Kia together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales.
The world's 13 major carmakers had suspended 71 percent of their 300 manufacturing facilities, or 213 plants, as of April 16 due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association.
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