U.S. combined sales of Hyundai, Kia down 1.1 pct in H1

SEOUL, July 22 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's top carmaker, and its sister company Kia Motors Corp. saw their combined sales edge down 1.1 percent in the first six months of the year from a year earlier in the United States, a U.S. auto magazine said Monday.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors sold a combined 638,361 units between January and June, compared with 645,376 units from a year earlier, according to Automotive News.

The combined U.S. market share of Hyundai and Kia accounted for 8.2 percent during the cited period, down from 8.9 percent in 2012, according to the magazine.

Hyundai said weekend work stoppages earlier this year are to blame for the poor sales performance in the U.S., as some cars built in South Korea are exported to the U.S.

The weekend work stoppage caused by a dispute over weekend wages prevented Hyundai from producing 79,000 vehicles between March 9 and May 18, costing the carmaker 1.7 trillion won (US$1.5 billion) in lost production.

Hyundai said it expects its U.S. sales to improve as its unionized workers have resumed weekend production.

Hyundai and Kia are the two major flagship units of South Korea's Hyundai Motor Group, the world's fifth-largest carmaker.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>