Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors have secured the No. 1 position in sales among Asian carmakers in the European market, outstripping Toyota Motor.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, Hyundai-Kia sold 58,585 vehicles in 28 European countries in May, grabbing 4.7 percent of the market.
Though the two affiliated companies saw their market share inch down 0.5 percentage point from a month before, they still surpassed Toyota Motor and the Japanese automaker’s premium brand Lexus.
Between January and May, sales of Hyundai-Kia and Toyota-Lexus came to 283,506 and 256,935, respectively.
Hyundai-Kia overtook Toyota for the first time in 2010 since Hyundai Motor launched European sales with the Pony sedan in 1977.
Last month, Volkswagen topped the European market with market share of 23.9 percent, followed by Peugeot-Citroen with 13.5 percent, Renault with 8.9 percent, General Motors with 8.8 percent, and Ford Motor with 8 percent.
Hyundai-Kia ranked ninth, behind Fiat (sixth with 7.3 percent), BMW (seventh with 6.2 percent) and Daimler (eighth with 5.1 percent).
The Korean carmakers are seeking expand their presence in Europe by launching sales of i40, a mid-sized wagon, and Rio, a small-sized sedan during the second half.
“Mid-sized wagon style is popular in Europe,” a Hyundai Motor spokesman said. “The i40 will be competitive as a variety of convenient devices are included in the model.”
Buoyed by brisk sales in major countries such as Germany and France, the total auto sales in the European market reached about 1.25 million in May, up 7.6 percent from a month earlier.
Earlier this month, Hyundai Motor became a full member of an industry lobby of European carmakers, a move which company officials said would help boost Hyundai’s image and sales in the region.
The company became the 17th member of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.
Hyundai Motor is the second Asian automaker with a full membership of the European association after Toyota Motor.
The association approved Hyundai’s membership two years after the Seoul-based company applied for the position.
By Kim Yon-se (email@example.com