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Hyundai And Kia Pull Ahead In Sales, Gain More U.S. Market Share

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2011 Hyundai Elantra

2011 Hyundai Elantra

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2011 Kia Optima

2011 Kia Optima

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This past month, while most of the industry stuttered, Kia and Hyundai surged ahead—significantly gaining market share, based on some forecasts just out.

Hyundai and Kia, over April, are expected to reach their highest level of market share ever—9.4 percent.

The two brands, combined (they're both products of the same South Korean parent company), were the only major ones to gain sales from March to April. Together, Hyundai and Kia sales are predicted to be up 1.6 percent this month, versus last, while industry-wide sales are expected to be down more than eight percent.

Last year alone, Hyundai saw its market share climb from about three percent up to 4.2 percent, and Kia saw a 3.1-percent share over 2010. So if these brands' success holds up, we might be able to say by end of year that one in ten new vehicles are Kia- or Hyundai-branded.

Of course, both brands have launched some very significant (and successful) products since then—including the 2011 Hyundai Elantra and 2011 Kia Optima; so it makes sense that their market share would climb so dramatically.

According to TrueCar forecasts, overall U.S. retail new-vehicle sales will be down 8.3 percent in April 2011, compared to March 2011, while they'll be up 15.4 percent from April 2010.

Most automakers have pulled way back on incentives. Overall incentive spending per vehicle is about $2,386 this month, down four percent just from last month and eleven percent from last April.

And while incentive spending is still significantly down versus last year for most automakers, General Motors continues to throw down more money to move vehicles; GM will spend more than $688 million in incentives, TrueCar estimates, up 6.3 percent versus last month and 5.8 percent from April 2011.

Although these numbers might represent the renewed interest in smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles that we've reported, they haven't much been affected by the March earthquake in Japan—not year, at least. Next month, dealerships are expected to see some actual inventory shortages due to short supply.


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Comments (5)
  1. That's nice. Hyundai and Kia are able to sell their state subsidized product here while the South Koreans still, even after the dopey trade agreement brokered by Obama and Mulally, block us from selling product there.
    The people who run this country are stupid.

  2. If the cars are "state subsidized", why are the cars in Korea MORE expensive than here in the US?
    Subsidized cars are supposed to be LOWER, not HIGHER priced.

  3. Peter, Peter, Peter. Seriously? The Koreans are subsidizing product sold in the United States via huge tax breaks for the parent company back home because, duh, our market is exponentially larger. Sheesh.

  4. What prohibition?
    SKorea puts an 8% tariff on auto imports; that's LESS than the 10% that the EU and Australia puts on auto imports and not far much more than the near 7% that Canada places on auto imports.
    The Germans brands have had record breaking sales in Korea with BMW and Mercedes each selling over 15K vehicles in 2010 and the Japanese brands are growing as well (that's Japanese brands doing well in Korea); imports are expected to make up 10% of the Korean auto market this year (compare that to Japan).
    Heck, SK allows EACH US automakers to import something like 20K vehicles into Korea withOUT having to meet Korean safety or emissions standards (so the automakers don't have to make any changes to lower volume models).

  5. Uh, Michael... Before you start calling others stupid... That whole US-SK trade agreement that you hate and blame on the President... That was first signed in 2007, so how exactly is that the President's fault (and he's the President, not some guy in your gym class in HS, so how about some respect?)? Yes, the President negotiated some changes in 2010, but as you clearly are not aware, the trade agreements have never been approved in either country.
    So yes, please complain about how stupid our leaders are while you blame the President for an agreement that he didn't initiate and that has never been passed, anyway. Brilliant! Bitter much?

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