SEOUL, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Monday that exports of its flagship Equus passenger car have surged thanks to its globally competitive performance.
The carmaker said overseas sales of its second generation Equus that was first launched in March 2009 reached a combined 5,770 units. This, it said represents a 230 percent surge from just 1,730 vehicles shipped abroad for the first Equus model that was unveiled in 1999.
"The Equus is developing a reputation as a car that has performance and luxury features on par with industry leaders," a Hyundai spokesperson said. "This is fueling demand and helping to bolster the overall brand image of Hyundai around the world."
The representative said the sales of the new Equus hit 368 units in 2009 but jumped to 2,124 in 2010 and 3,280 vehicles in the first nine months of the year.
Exports of the large luxury car to markets in China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East began in the second half of 2009, with sales in the United States kicking off in December of last year.
Sales in the U.S. market alone reached 2,283 units in the first nine months of 2011, almost surpassing Hyundai's annual target of 2,300 units. If the current brisk pace continues, annual sales of the car could top 3,000.
The large sedan, meanwhile, received the highest marks among luxury cars in a U.S. customer satisfaction survey released in July. The Equus received the 2011 Associates Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) award by J.D. Power and Associates, outshining BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.