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Hyundai, Kia successful in United States, Mexico

Mar 04,2019
Korean carmakers are enjoying strong sales in the United States and Mexico, and are even setting records.

According to Hyundai Motor America (HMA) on Friday, the company sold more than 45,000 automobiles in the United States in February, a 2-percent rise in its total sales over February last year. Its sport-utility vehicles (SUV) were most popular, accounting for 55 percent of the entire sales. This is a 38-percent jump in SUV sales on year, setting a new record for February sales.

A few of the popular models were the Tucson, whose sales increased 12 percent on year, and the Santa Fe and the Santa Fe XL, whose sales went up by 5 percent. Hyundai sold more than 5,000 Kona SUVs, including the Kona Electric, which captured the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle award earlier this year.

“Our vehicles continue to win some of the most important industry honors for performance, design, quality and cost-to-own leadership,” said John Cook, director of HMA’s Sales Operations. “Combine that with the efforts of our dealers to improve the customer experience and improving residual values, and we are optimistic about continued retail success throughout the rest of 2019.”

Kia Motors’ February sales in the United States also shot up by 6.7 percent on year to 43,406 units, according to Kia Motors America. The Soul, Sportage and Optima led the way with double-digit sales growth.

Outside the U.S. market, Korean vehicles also performed well in Mexico despite the sluggish growth in Mexico’s car market. For the first time last year, sales of Hyundai and Kia cars accounted for more than 10 percent of car sales in Mexico.

Mexico saw lower growth in automobile sales over the past two years due to inflation and the country’s high-key interest rate, which led to reduced demand for new cars. According to industry insiders and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency in Mexico City Sunday, sales of new automobiles in Mexico last year nosedived 7.1 percent on year to 1.42 million.

Despite the poor performance in general, sales of Hyundai and Kia cars in Mexico increased and accounted for 10.1 percent of the entire car sales in the country. A total of 18 models — nine Kia cars and nine Hyundai vehicles — were sold in Mexico.

Kia, whose sales accounted for 6.6 percent of the entire car sales, jumped up two spots to reach fifth in the market share ranking, while Hyundai remained 10th. Kia’s car sales increased 8.7 percent on year, while Hyundai’s sales jumped 9.6 percent. Kia sold 94,200 cars and Hyundai sold 51,600. Popular offerings that led sales in Mexico were Hyundai’s Accent, whose sales skyrocketed 85.3 percent on year to 12,400 units, and Kia’s Rio, whose sales shot up by 13.1 percent to 32,900. The stabilization of Kia and Hyundai’s local production facility and the timely release of their cars are seen as the main reasons behind their recent success.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]


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