Hyundai and Kia are this month expected to pull ahead of Toyota and Honda, to be the third top-selling brands in the U.S. market after only GM and Ford.
Even more to the point, Hyundai and Kia are expected to be the only major brands with sales up versus April. According to the pricing-intelligence firm TrueCar, Hyundai and Kia combined will sell about 115,000 vehicles, just ahead of Chrysler and Nissan and behind GM (225,000) and Ford (188,000).
Though Hyundai and Kia have different company structures and sales operations in the U.S., they're both part of the same South Korean parent company, Hyundai Kia Automotive Group. Both brands have strong new product this year, including the all-new 2011 Hyundai Elantra, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, and 2011 Kia Optima.
Versus last April, market-total sales are expected to be down 8.3 percent overall (with retail down 10.7 percent), to about 1.06 million vehicles, according to TrueCar's forecast.
Toyota and Honda are expected to take the biggest hit, due in part to inventory shortages, as dealerships this month began to feel the affects of the March earthquake and tsunami. Toyota sales will likely be down more than 31 percent from April, while Honda sales will see more than a 25-percent decrease.
The supply shake-up leaves Hyundai and Kia, combined, with nearly an eleven-percent share of the U.S. market—also ranking about a half-percent higher than Chrysler. Last May, Hyundai and Kia had just a 7.3-percent share and were behind Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Chrysler.