Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that Kia’s Russia deliveries fell 26 percent in December. Last month they rose 26 percent.
SEOUL (Reuters) -- Kia posted a 54 percent fall in quarterly net profit as a plunge in the ruble pulled down income earned in Russia where Kia ranks second after domestic brand Lada.
For the fourth-quarter, Kia posted net profit of 436 billion won ($402.10 million), versus the 949 billion won of a year earlier.
Kia said it expects sales volume in Russia to fall 12 percent this year, as the ruble’s decline could force further price rises, denting demand.
A day earlier, Hyundai Motor, an affiliate of Kia, reported a 19 percent slump in net profit, blaming the ruble as well as higher incentives in the U.S. aimed at combating Japanese rivals that have been strengthened by a weak yen.
Kia shares a factory with Hyundai in Russia, and produces locally about 45 percent of vehicles it sells in the country. It imports the remainder from Korea and Slovakia, a company official previously told Reuters.
But those imports include higher-priced, higher-value vehicles such as the midsize Optima sedan and the Sportage and Sorento compact SUVs, the official said. A falling ruble increases the cost and therefore price of such imports, threatening sales.
Kia has already had to raise its prices on some models in Russia, and has been diverting some imports to other markets.
Sales of Kia models fell 1 percent last year in Russia to 195,691, according to data from the Association of European Business (AEB).
On Thursday, a Korean newspaper quoted Kia CEO, Park Han-woo, as saying the automaker was mulling setting up a factory in the fast-growing Indian market to tap growth there and offset slowing sales in Russia and China.