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Hyundai-Kia’s US sales to reach 1m units

Publication Date : 11-10-2012


Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors are set to achieve 1 million units in vehicle sales in the United States for the second consecutive year.

For the first time in 2011, the affiliated automakers became the fourth non-American automotive group, with yearly vehicle sales exceeding 1 million units in the US.

While Hyundai and Kia broke the 1 million-unit mark based on sales between January and November last year, they are poised to achieve the record in October this year.

They sold 974,728 units for the first nine months of 2012. Hyundai saw its sales increase by 9.5 per cent to 539,814 units on a year-on-year basis and Kia posted 434,914 units with growth of 18.4 per cent.

Though they reached the milestone a year earlier, the 1 million sales for this year holds greater significance, according to the automotive industry.

“Their performance came as several global carmakers suffered sagging sales amid the eurozone fiscal crisis and economic slowdown in the US,” an auto research analyst said.

Hyundai Motor saw the sales of the new Avante, dubbed the Elantra in North America, surge 27.2 per cent in the US market.

Kia Motors, buoyed by brisk sales of the K5, dubbed the rise Optima there, posted a 35.1 per cent in their combined vehicle sales.

The two companies’ collective market share in the US climbed to 9.1 per cent as of September, compared to 8.7 per cent a month earlier and 8.3 per cent a year earlier.

While General Motors and Ford Motor are vying to be No. 1 in US sales, Hyundai and Kia have been in close competition with three other players ― Chrysler, Toyota Motor and Honda Motor ― to capture third place.

Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo recently called on the automotive group’s US operation to map out measures against Toyota Motor’s rapid sales growth in North America.

In August, Chung visited Los Angeles where Hyundai’s US sales corporation is located. The chairman also visited the Alabama plant of Hyundai Motor and the Georgia plant of Kia.

“The US auto market was also hit by the eurozone debt crisis. The chairman’s visit was aimed at taking preemptive measures against overall lackluster sales in the market,” said the spokesman.

Chung held an intensive discussion with executives in the US in a bid to generate strategies to closely battle Japanese competitors.

Hyundai and Kia also saw their brand values highly estimated globally, being ranked 53rd and 87th, respectively, on the list published by Interbrand, a leading brand management consultancy.

Hyundai Motor saw its ranking rise to 53rd from 61st a year before and outpaced German player Audi (55th), Porsche (72nd) and Nissan (73rd), grabbing the position of No. 7 among automotive brands. The consulting agency assessed Hyundai Motor’s brand value at $7.5 billion.

This year, Kia Motors also entered the top 100 list for the first time as the consulting firm hiked the company’s brand value by about 50 per cent to $4.08 billion on a year-on-year basis.


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