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Record Sales for Hyundai and Kia

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author photo by Autotrader June 2011

May auto sales numbers are in, and the results are a mixed bag: some were up, some were down and some were flat. But Hyundai and Kia are exceptions, remaining consistently strong during production shortages and high gas prices. Each posted record sales numbers in May – and together accounted for 10 percent of the US market for the first time.

Kia celebrated its best month ever in May – something it's done for each of the last three months. The automaker recorded 48,212 total sales, beating out last month's total of 47,074 units and grabbing 4.5 percent of the total market. Most of Kia's models saw massive year-over-year percentage gains, including the midsize Sorento SUV, up 45.8 percent, the compact Soul, up 81.9 percent, the small Sportage SUV, up 98.4 percent, and the midsize Optima, which recorded 7,431 May sales – an astounding 210.4 percent increase over last year, undoubtedly due to its well-received redesign.

The news was similar at Hyundai, which owns a 51 percent stake in Kia. The automaker finished the month with a 20.7 percent year-over-year increase to 59,214 sales – its best May in history. The compact Elantra crested 20,000 sales for the first time, ending the month at 20,006 – a 104.5 percent increase over last May. But for Hyundai, the biggest May news was its Sonata sedan, which recorded 22,754 sales – more than perennial bestsellers like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, neither of which ended the month above the 20,000 mark.

"May was another outstanding month for Hyundai," said Dave Zuchowski, Hyundai's executive vice president of national sales. "With high gas prices continuing to alter consumer behavior, car buyers are increasingly looking at Hyundai's fuel-efficient lineup."

Other brands posting strong gains in May included Mitsubishi, Scion, Volvo, Jeep, and Porsche, each of which celebrated increases of more than 50 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, many Japanese brands saw double-digit sales decreases as earthquake-ravaged production meant lack of inventory and parts for many dealers. Both Ford and Chevrolet were relatively flat, with Ford posting a 5.3 percent sales increase, and Chevrolet a 3.5 percent drop.

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Record Sales for Hyundai and Kia - Autotrader